National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

By Sidney Gendin | Category: Health and Medicine

March 20, 2009

Today Is National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

The third annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day highlights the impact of the virus on Native Americans-American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians-and promotes the need for expanded testing and additional treatment options for this group. Commemorated yearly on March 20, this awareness day was first established by the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center.

Native Americans have the highest rate of HIV infection after African Americans and Latinos. In addition, Native people tend to be diagnosed with HIV later in their infection and are more likely to progress to AIDS than their white counterparts.

"The incidence of HIV/AIDS has risen dramatically in recent years in Native communities and cannot be ignored," says Paul A. Kawata, executive director of the National Minority AIDS Council. "It is imperative that we take action and support HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment in American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities."

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