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Press Release
Increase in Rate of HIV Diagnoses Among Native Communities Further Emphasizes the Need for Enhanced Prevention Efforts

March 20, 2012

Washington, D.C. -- March 20, 2012 marks the 6th annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. NNHAAD is a national mobilization effort designed to encourage Natives (American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians) across the United States and Territorial Areas to get educated, get tested, get involved in prevention and get treated for HIV and AIDS.

On March 14, 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its HIV Surveillance Report, 2010, Vol. 22, which presented data for diagnoses of HIV infection and AIDS through December 31, 2010 and reported to CDC through June 2011. Although the majority of diagnoses of HIV infection were among blacks/African Americans (46% of all diagnoses of HIV infection), whites (29%), and Hispanics/Latinos (20%), the only racial/ethnic group to have an increase in the rate of HIV diagnoses was American Indians/Alaska Natives.

American Indians and Alaskan Natives represent 1.5 percent of the total U.S. population; however, this population ranks third in terms of the rate of HIV/AIDS diagnoses. According to the CDC, by the end of 2008, the HIV infection rate was 22.8 per 100,000 persons for Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders (NHOPIs) and 11.9 per 100,000 for American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs). Furthermore, the Native population tends to have higher mortality outcomes after diagnosis in comparison to other racial and ethnic groups, exemplifying the health disparities faced by this population. Social determinants such as socioeconomic issues, cultural diversity in prevention efforts, substance abuse and testing issues may have an impact on the observed rates.

Michelle Scavnicky, Director of Education and Capacity Building Assistance Services at The AIDS Institute commented, "HIV prevention resources are often driven by increases in HIV infection rates among specific target populations and those populations with lower infection rates are often overlooked. Recent findings demonstrating an increase in the rate of HIV diagnoses among American Indians/Alaska Natives as a strong indicator that additional HIV prevention resources need to be focused on the Native Community to prevent new infections."

The AIDS Institute encourages the Native community to get tested for HIV and know their status. For more information on National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day or on HIV/AIDS visit

NNHAAD is a federally recognized awareness day was founded in 2007 and is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Committee partners include Colorado State University's Commitment to Action for 7th-Generation Awareness & Education (CA7AE), National Native American AIDS Prevention Center (NNAAPC), Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board, Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (ITCA), and Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center.

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