Advertisement
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol

U.S. News

How Sexual Stigma Is Undermining HIV Treatment on American Indian Reservations

May 23, 2013

The Indian Health Service (IHS) reported that cultural stigma against homosexuality and HIV prevents many Navajo tribe members from adhering to HIV treatment. HIV incidence among the Navajo is relatively low due to the seclusion of the reservation, but new cases surged by 20 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to IHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Susan V. Karol. Men who have sex with men (MSM) comprised almost half of new HIV cases on the reservation.

Melvin Harrison, executive director of the Navajo AIDS Network (NAN), described how stigma against homosexuality and HIV affects health-seeking behavior among the Navajo. Approximately 75 percent of NAN clients are "closeted" MSM, according to Harrison. Most NAN clients have not told their family and friends about their diagnosis because they fear family rejection and shunning. One HIV-infected man reported that his mother would not hug him and fed him from disposable plates after learning of his diagnosis.

The need to remain silent is a major barrier to treatment compliance, since family and community awareness are instrumental in helping patients follow through with HIV treatment and checkups.

Although it is not clear why, American Indians with HIV or AIDS have a lower survival rate than other racial groups.

Back to other news for May 2013

Adapted from:
Think Progress
05.21.2013; Sy Mukherjee


This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
See Also
United States: Navajo Confront an Increase in New HIV Infections
Native Americans & HIV/AIDS

No comments have been made.
 

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read TheBody.com's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:


Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:

Advertisement