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Describe the Prevalence of Hiv and Aids in the Mott Haven Population?

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1) Describe the prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the Mott Haven population?

As Jonathan Kozol explains, virtually every child knows of a relative or someone with AIDS. He states there are nearly 4,000 heroin injection users with AIDS as well as over a quarter of women therefore inflating the rate of pediatric AIDS. In Alice Washington’s apartment she says that there’s over 25 people with AIDS in her section alone and more than 20 in the section next to her. AIDS is a serious and concurrent theme throughout the book even if not the subject most stories involve people with AIDS.

2) Compare and contrast the conditions in the following hospitals: Lincoln Hospital, Bronx Lebanon, Harlem Hospital, and Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Lincoln Hospital is the local public hospital and has failed to receive accreditation several times over the years due to a lack of staff training and funding. There have been cases of infants dying over the years due to staff mistakes and in interviews every person has a story of being turned back from Lincoln or about its general uncleanliness. This case is similar to another public institution with even worse conditions, Harlem Hospital. A nurse that works there even carries a card that says “In Case of Emergency, Do Not Take Me to Harlem Hospital”. I think that’s enough to paint the picture. Although it may seem that private institutions in the South Bronx may be better it is not the case for Bronx-Lebanon. The stories told by Mrs. Washington paint a similar seen at Lincoln Hospital, terrible but better than Harlem. Finally the sacred Mount Sinai Medical Center. It is a privately run hospital with better facilities than all of the previously mentioned hospitals. However it is heavily segregated in facilities by payment method with private insurance carrier wards having much better conditions than the Medicaid. Not only this but there are many cases of rudeness to minorities attempting to receive service.

3) The book describes why the tenement type of housing does not work, what is it and why does it not work?

Tenement housing is low income, affordable housing apartments for impoverished families that barely meet safety standards. These apartments are government subsidized and created by large companies. The families generally pay 200-300 dollars for rent and the government covers the other 500-600. The statistic in Mrs. Washington’s building is that there are 12% of people employed. This means that all of these people depend on the benefit of Federal Aid to keep living in their barely regulated homes. This leads to the area becoming a ghetto and unattractive for business which is the biggest thing the area needs, employment. It also leads to dealing illicit substances for income.

4) Explain the needle exchange process that takes place in Children’s Park (i.e., types of needles, how they are distributed and how many people come for needles).

Every week members of the church come down to Children’s Park to distribute clean needles and condoms in order to fight the AIDS epidemic. There are thicker needles for intravenous cocaine and addicts who have damaged their vessels and need to inject deeper into their bodies. There are also thinner diabetic needles for addicts without the need to go into deeper main vessels. The church sets up a small shelter on one end of the park and on any given afternoon 150-200 addicts show up for their service. They line up and previous users of the service state their registration number and the number of dirty needles they have to exchange. They receive the same number of clean needles as dirty needles they turn in. New recipients are given a quick exam and then given a registration number for future use.

5) Describe the drug dealing operation of George Calderon.

George Calderon was the controller of the heroin trade in the area and was considered the largest private employer in the neighborhood. He provided over 250 jobs to both men and women in the area. He was known to throw thousands of dollars out of his window for children and teenagers on holidays. He was a well-liked public figure and when he was shot in 1992 hundreds attended his funeral and even erected a memorial for him in Children’s Park. He made over 200,000 dollars yearly by renting out certain corners to lower level street dealers. These dealers had to pay rent for each type of drug they wanted to peddle on the sidewalks. He also made it street law to not sell in front of children or at the times they walked home from school. His younger sister took over the operation after his death but was tragically shot and killed as well two months later.

6) Describe the changes the book reports were brought about by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in his term as mayor of New York with regard to government cutbacks and their effect on the poor.

The new mayor Rudolph Giuliani had the great idea of cutting back budgets of many of the city’s public services that mainly the impoverished depended on such as rehabilitation, food stamps, and pest control. There were cancellations of AIDS treatment to over 600 children and 1,500 adults. He wanted the impoverished communities to learn to look after themselves and use the resources available to them while taking those same resources away. One of his great master plans was to have every single person on welfare clean the streets and do community service tasks in green uniforms. This is over a million people including children that he wanted to treat like criminals for being in unfortunate condition.

7) Describe the population of Riker’s Island in New York, both male and female inmates.

Riker’s Island is an Alcatraz like prison located on the East River. It is a famously rowdy prison and 92% of its inmates are Latino or African-American. The prison has a nursery inside in which a handful of female inmates are admitted when needed. There are a total of 16 cribs behind plexiglass in the cells where the mothers can sleep watching their babies. 1 in 4 of all the mothers in that ward were diagnosed with AIDS and 1 in 5 had Tuberculosis. There were countless babies born already addicted to drugs and growing up in the daycare in the prison. Most of the men and women in captivity come from the ghettos of New York including the Bronx and Harlem. Black men in these neighborhoods are disproportionately arrested and serve disproportionate sentences for their crimes in institutions such as Riker’s Island. With the lack of opportunities available to them it seems it is either this or to



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