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March 20 is National Native American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

by Lisa Neel, IHS National HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator

National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a nationwide effort designed to promote HIV testing and awareness in Native communities. March 20, 2016 marks the 10th annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This year's theme is "Hear Indigenous Voices: Uniting Bold Voices of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders."

HIV/AIDS testing is free at all IHS facilities. It is our goal to support the communities we serve in providing the HIV prevention and care activities that are most effective for them.

Examples of toolkits developed by IHS and its partners to help people use their voices to improve their community's health include:

There are a number of new ways to reduce HIV transmission and provide a healthy lifespan to those already living with HIV. One of these is pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP), which is the daily use of HIV medication to reduce the risk of infection in people at very high risk for HIV. Studies have shown that PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV if it is used as prescribed. Learn more about PrEP Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving .

Ms. Neel, MPH, a member of the Cherokee Nation, manages the IHS National HIV/AIDS Program. This public health program addresses infectious disease needs in partnership with Native communities throughout the United States.

Lisa Neel, IHS National HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator