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Commentary & Opinion
American Indian Communities Need HIV Prevention Programs, Testing to Hold Off HIV/AIDS "Time Bomb," Editorial Says

July 13, 2005

The "conditions are ripe" for HIV/AIDS to reach "epidemic proportions" in American Indian communities, but a concerted effort between federal, state, local and tribal agencies could "tip the balance the other direction," an Arizona Republic editorial says. HIV/AIDS is a "time bomb" among the American Indian population because of factors such as isolation of tribal communities and high rates of hepatitis C, alcoholism and sexually transmitted diseases, the editorial says. Although resources for programs in the community currently are "skimpy and disconnected," agencies could work together to improve access to treatment and testing, as well as design and implement prevention programs that are adapted for American Indians, according to the editorial. "A [prevention] program won't be effective unless it meshes with tribal culture, using the right degree of explicitness, respecting taboos about discussing sex and finding appropriate ways to address sensitive issues," the editorial says (Arizona Republic, 7/11).

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