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Although widespread across the United States among all populations, the STD epidemic disproportionately affects certain racial and ethnic groups. Such disparities in STD rates are complex to understand but may be rooted in a number of social factors such as poverty, inadequate access to health care, lack of education, social inequality, and cultural influences. One group adversely affected by STDs is the American Indian and Alaskan Native (AI/AN) population.

The goals of the IHS National STD program are to:

  • Raise awareness of sexually transmitted diseases as a high-priority health issue among AI/AN communities.
  • Support partnerships and collaborations with state STD programs, IHS, Tribal, Urban Indian (I/T/U) facilities, and other public health agencies.
  • Support improvement of I/T/U, state, and local STD programs for AI/AN.
  • Increase access to up-to-date STD training for clinicians and public health practitioners.
  • Support and strengthen surveillance systems to monitor STD trends.
  • Promote STD research and identify effective interventions for reducing STD morbidity.
  • Support STD outbreak response efforts.
  • Support prevention and control activities of comorbid conditions such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
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