HIV/AIDS in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities
HIV awareness and consistent, widespread access to stigma-free HIV testing is especially important in our communities, because as many as 26% of the American Indian and Alaska Native people living with HIV infection do not know it. People who don't know that they are living with HIV don't seek the medical care available to support them in living a healthy, full life. In contrast, people who know that they're HIV positive can protect their health and take action to prevent spreading the virus to others.
The IHS National HIV/AIDS Program is committed to partnering with communities to create lasting change in the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We provide programs to assist individuals, families, communities, and health care providers to:
- Understand how HIV is spread, and share knowledge about HIV with others
- Get tested for HIV
- Put policies and procedures in place to offer a HIV testing as a routine part of all health care
- Improve access to care, treatment, and prevention services needed by people living with HIV and AIDS
IHS providers throughout the country are offering screening more often, collaborating with communities to increase education, and offering care or referrals where direct care is not available. We can all help to reduce the stigma within our culture and among health care providers regarding HIV/AIDS.