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HIV/AIDS Among American Indians and Alaska Natives

March 24, 2014

Fast Facts
  • HIV affects AI/AN in ways that are not always apparent because of their small population sizes.
  • Of all races/ethnicities, AI/AN had the highest percentages of diagnosed HIV infections due to injection drug use.
  • AI/AN face HIV prevention challenges, including poverty, high rates of STIs, and stigma.


HIV/AIDS Among American Indians and Alaska Natives

HIV is a public health issue among the approximately 5.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN), who represent about 1.7%1 of the US population. Compared with other racial/ethnic groups, AI/AN ranked fifth in estimated rates of HIV infection diagnoses in 2011, with lower rates than in blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos,2 Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders, and people reporting multiple races, but higher rates than in Asians and whites.


The Numbers

Overall, the effect of HIV infection on AI/AN is proportional to their US population size. However, within the overall statistics of new HIV infections and diagnoses, certain measures are disproportionate in this population group relative to other races/ethnicities.


New HIV Infections3


HIV and AIDS Diagnoses4 and Deaths


Estimated Diagnoses of HIV Infection Among Adult and Adolescent American Indians/Alaska Natives by Transmission Category and Sex, 2011 -- United States

Estimated Diagnoses of HIV Infection Among Adult and Adolescent American Indians/Alaska Natives by Transmission Category and Sex, 2011 -- United States


Why Are American Indians and Alaska Natives Affected by HIV?

Race and ethnicity alone are not risk factors for HIV infection. However, AI/AN may face challenges associated with risk for HIV.


What CDC Is Doing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its partners are pursuing a High-Impact Prevention approach to advance the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), maximize the effectiveness of current HIV prevention methods, and improve surveillance among AI/AN. Activities include

In addition, the Office for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (OSTLTS) serves as the primary link between CDC, the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, and tribal governments. OSTLTS' tribal support activities are focused on fulfilling CDC's supportive role in ensuring that AI/AN communities receive public health services that keep them safe and healthy.

Additional Resources

CDC-INFO
1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636)

CDC HIV Website

CDC Act Against AIDS Campaign



Footnotes

  1. Census population estimates for AI/AN include those reporting Hispanic ethnicity or one or more races.
  2. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.
  3. New HIV infections refer to HIV incidence, or the number of people who are newly infected with HIV, whether or not they are aware of their infection.
  4. HIV and AIDS diagnoses refer to the number of people diagnosed with HIV infection (regardless of stage of disease) and the number of people diagnosed with AIDS, respectively, during a given time period. The terms do not indicate when they were infected.




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