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HIV in Indian Country

The mission of the Indian Health Service is to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level. The IHS National HIV/AIDS Program coordinates and promotes HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment activities specific to Indians as part of a comprehensive public health approach. The goals of the HIV/AIDS Program are to prevent further spread of HIV and improve health outcomes for those already living with HIV and AIDS.

Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America focuses on three major areas of action, one being increasing investments in geographic hotspots. Many of the counties and states identified in the plan are in locations with federal, tribal and urban health sites. American Indians and Alaska Natives are ranked fourth in the nation for the rate of new infections of HIV when compared with all other races and ethnicities.

The president’s fiscal year 2020 budget proposal includes $25 million in new investments to establish the Eliminating Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS in Indian Country Initiative. This will expand partnerships between IHS and Native communities to end the HIV epidemic in Indian Country.

HIV in Indian Country:

  • From 2012-2016 there has been a 34% increase in HIV diagnoses among American Indian and Alaska Native.
  • From 2012-2016 there has been a 58% increase in HIV diagnoses among American Indian and Alaska Native gay and bisexual men.
  • From 2012-2016 HIV screening increased by 63% for 13-64 year olds.
  • Since August 2018, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, also known as PrEP, a once-per-day pill that has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection through sex by as much as 97%, has been available in the same manner as all of the other medications accessible through IHS.
  • The HIV clinic at Phoenix Indian Medical Center is the largest in all of IHS, with over 300 patients. American Indian and Alaska Native people who are living with HIV in Arizona have the highest viral suppression rates of all racial groups in the state.

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