Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Highlights Storytelling as Resilience

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Every year on the first day of Spring, the US celebrates Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. In many Native cultures throughout the country, the beginning of Spring signifies “a time of equality and balance“. The season is “considered a time of profound change, new beginnings and birth; A celebration of life for all people”. In keeping with these values, this year’s theme is “Weaving our Horizon: Strength. CommUnity. Equity. Some progress has been made in regard to HIV testing in native communities. In 2020, 48% of American Indian/Alaska Native people had ever been tested for HIV, compared the national average of 39%. However, much work is left to be done to close the health inequities AI/AN people experience. On in five Native individuals with HIV have not been diagnosed. In 2021, American Indian/Alaska Native women had the highest percentage (40%) of new HIV diagnoses due to injection drug use compared to women of other races. The three main goals of this day are to:

    1. Increase awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on Native people

    1. Expand access to HIV testing and counseling in Native communities

    1. Reduce the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS

With these goals in mind, we want to highlight some stories of strength, beauty and resilience shared by Native people living with HIV: