POZ Publishes Article on Native HIV/AIDS Awareness DayPOZ in its March issue examined the HIV/AIDS situation among American Indians in recognition of National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on March 20. HIV cases among American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities are estimated at 11.5 cases per 100,000 people -- 40% higher than cases among whites.
Many American Indians avoid seeking testing and treatment because of concerns about discrimination and a lack of HIV/AIDS education, according to POZ. The Indian Health Service, which serves most American Indians, lacks the resources to provide adequate care for people living with HIV/AIDS, POZ reports.
HIV/AIDS awareness efforts aimed at the population have increased during the past year, and a national conference on the issue, called "Embracing Our Traditions," was launched in 2006.
However, some advocates say little has improved. "Nothing gets done," Kory Montoya, an HIV-positive New Mexico Apache who serves as interim executive director at a New Mexico AIDS service organization, said of developing programs and funding. He added, "People come and they want our input...[b]ut nothing gets done."
Advocates say that more HIV-positive American Indians should begin speaking out to help increase awareness and raise funds. They also noted that reaching American Indians will require tailoring programs to their cultures, such as educating elders and incorporating tribal health techniques, POZ reports (Scott, POZ, March 2008). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.