HIV On The Rise In San Jose Homeless Encampment Known As ‘The Jungle’

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(Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

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CBS SF Bay (con't)

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SAN JOSE (KCBS)— With anywhere from 200 to 300 residents, “The Jungle” has been described as one of the largest homeless encampments in the nation. Sitting on the banks of San Jose’s Coyote Creek, health officials say it’s become a breeding ground for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.

Mercy Egbujor, a nurse with Valley Homeless Healthcare, said there’s been a disturbing rise in the number of HIV cases at the encampment as well as other communicable diseases like gonorrhea and Chlamydia.

The news didn’t surprise one Jungle resident, who did not want to give his name. He said he’s heard of other residents engaging in promiscuous behavior.

Now the county is working on a larger study of the health issue, according to Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager.

Health officials and lawmakers are looking into whether or not they need to distribute more clean needles and condoms, and how to better inform people about having safer sex.

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