National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

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 12th 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.

Of the 39,782 HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2016, 1% (243) were among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations. Of those, 81% (198) were men, and 19% (45) were women. Of the 198 HIV diagnoses among AI/AN men in 2016, most (77%, 152) were among gay and bisexual men. Of the 45 women diagnosed with HIV, 69% were attributable to heterosexual contact. From 2011 to 2015, the number of new HIV diagnoses increased 38% (from 143 to 197) among AI/AN overall and 54% (from 74 to 114) among AI/AN gay and bisexual men.

Cultural diversity in AI/AN tribes

With more than 560 federally recognized AI/AN tribes and 170 languages, cultural diversity can pose a challenge in HIV prevention. Poverty, stigma associated with gay relationships & HIV, barriers to mental health care, high rates of alcohol & drug abuse, and high rates of STDs—these all increase the risk of HIV in Native communities also, creating 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. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) work with communities to share stories, build awareness, and reduce the toll of HIV among Native peoples.

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! Sexually active gay and bisexual men might benefit from HIV testing every 3 to 6 months.

CCHD offers HIV/AIDS testing

HIV testing is available at CCHD on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday, 8am-11:30am and 1pm-4:30pm. We offer free, confidential or anonymous testing to qualifying individuals. To receive free testing, an individual must meet one of the following risk factors:

  • Be a man who has sex with men (MSM)
  • Be a person who injects drugs (PWID)
  • Be a sexual partner to a MSM or PWID

Learn more about the services CCHD offers with regards to HIV/AIDS, including Ryan White case management, on this webpage.