Editor’s Note: This blog post is cross-posted from the IHS HIV email listserv.
Thursday, March 20, is National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This week many tribal communities are sponsoring neighborhood events to increase local and global awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS on American Indian and Alaska Native people. To learn more about National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day community events in your area, please visit www.nnhaad.org .
To help reduce the rates of HIV/AIDS, IHS is working to improve the quality of and access to HIV/AIDS care in Indian Country through tribal partnerships and culturally relevant programs. In 2013, IHS awarded four new tribal cooperative agreements to promote HIV testing and increase care for people living with an HIV diagnosis. This funding helps to both strengthen our partnership with these Tribes and to support the IHS HIV/AIDS Program’s commitment to providing local solutions to improve HIV/AIDS care.
IHS HIV/AIDS prevention efforts are targeted at increasing the number of patients screened for HIV. In 2013, 35 percent of all IHS patients aged 13 to 64 received an HIV test. Additionally, almost half of all patients diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease were promptly tested for HIV. And our prenatal HIV screening rates continue to be consistently high at 90 percent. For more information about HIV/AIDS, and to find a testing center near you, please visit www.aids.gov.
To learn more about our successful best practices and community partnerships, I encourage you to watch our “Facing HIV/AIDS in Native Communities” video. It is available on the IHS website at www.ihs.gov/hivaids/.
I would like to thank all the hard working staff throughout the Indian health system who are committed to preventing and treating HIV/AIDS in the communities we serve. Your dedication is clearly evident and is greatly appreciated. Thank you for all you do every day to improve the quality of and access to care for American Indian and Alaska Native people.