Class Year


Access Type

Vassar Community Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Sociology Department

First Advisor

Eileen Leonard

Second Advisor

Leonard Nevarez


HIV among homeless populations is an important public health issue. Researchers have estimated that three to twenty percent of homeless individuals are HIV-positive, a rate 9-10 time higher than the public at large. However, aspects of the medical institution are often resistant to treat this intersectionally-oppressed population. This thesis searches for the reason for this resistance, arguing that the collective moral leanings of the medical institution are often based in neoliberal, free-market capitalism and that this morality has been instrumental in establishing and perpetuating the healthcare disparity between homeless and housed populations. I suggest that aspects of public health and medicine reflect neoliberal morals and conclude that health programs for the homeless must counter the moral judgments that the homeless have traditionally faced.