Get tested, and get involved in HIV prevention, care, and treatment.
March 20, 2016, is National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD). This day is an opportunity for Native people across the United States to learn about HIV/AIDS, encourage HIV counseling and testing in Native communities, and help decrease the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
On March 20, we recognize the impact of HIV/AIDS on American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians (collectively referred to as Native people) through the observance of National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This national observance, now in its 10th year, is sponsored by a coalition of partners who provide assistance to Native organizations, tribes, state health departments, and other organizations serving Native populations.
Observed annually on the spring equinox, NNHAAD is a national community mobilization effort designed to encourage American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians across the United States and territorial areas to get educated, get tested, and get involved in HIV prevention, care, and treatment. This year's theme is Hear Indigenous Voices.
HIV in Native Communities in the United States
Of the estimated 44,073 new HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2014, one percent (222) were among AI/AN. Of those, 77% were men, and 22% were women. Of the estimated 170 HIV diagnoses among AI/AN men in 2014, most (84%, 142) were among gay and bisexual men. From 2005 to 2014, the number of new HIV diagnoses increased 19% among AI/AN overall and 63% among AI/AN gay and bisexual men.1
Poverty and high rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) contribute to the challenges. The stigma associated with gay relationships and HIV, barriers to mental health care, and high rates of alcohol and drug abuse, STDs, and poverty all increase the risk of HIV in Native communities and create obstacles to HIV prevention and treatment.
Native communities are working to overcome these barriers by increasing HIV/AIDS awareness, encouraging HIV testing, and promoting entry into medical care. CDC is working with communities to share stories, build awareness, and reduce the toll of HIV, for example:
"Sharon's Story" is part of the CDC HIV Treatment Works campaign. A member of the Penobscot Nation, Sharon has been living with HIV since 2003, and she is a voice to those with HIV in her community.
"Shana's Story" and "Tommy's Story" are included in Let's Stop HIV Together. This campaign shows HIV-positive individuals alongside someone important in their lives to demonstrate how HIV affects people from all walks of life.
Public service announcement for Doing It, CDC's HIV testing campaign, features Native participants encouraging others to make HIV testing a routine part of their healthcare.
CDC recommends that all adults and adolescents get tested for HIV at least once as a routine part of medical care while those at increased risk should get an HIV test at least every year. HIV testing is vital and sexually active gay and bisexual men might benefit from HIV testing every 3 to 6 months. Women should also get an HIV test each time they are pregnant.
What Can You Do?
Visit the CDC HIV/AIDS website to learn:
The risk factors for getting HIV
How to practice safer methods to prevent HIV infection
Get tested for HIV and encourage others to do the same. To find a testing site near you, call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636), go to GetTested, or text your ZIP code to KNOW IT (566948). Home testing kits are available online or at a pharmacy. You may also find a testing location by visiting your local IHS Tribal or Urban facility, or through Indian Health Service.
Talk about HIV prevention with family, friends, and colleagues and on social media
When posting on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, please use the hashtag #NNHAAD
Sponsor an event.
Additional materials are available from the official National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day website (NNHAAD.org), Materials include posters, save the date cards, fact sheets, an NNHAAD tool kit, and public service announcements (PSAs). This year the celebrity PSAs are by Stefan Lessard of the Dave Matthews Band and Becky Hobbs, fifth granddaughter of Nancy Ward, Beloved Woman.