Awareness Days Feed

May 09, 2011


National Women's Health Week

By Jennie Anderson, Communications Director


Yesterday was not only Mother's Day, but it also was the start of the 12th annual National Women's Health Week (NWHW). According to Nancy C. Lee, MD, Director of the Office on Women's Health:

The aim of this day is to raise public awareness about the importance of women's health and encourage women and girls to make their health a top priority. Women are the foundation of many families, but too often we place the needs of others before our own. NWHW serves as a reminder to take the time to be physically active, eat well, visit a health care professional, avoid risky behaviors and pay attention to our mental health.

This observance is an important opportunity to talk about HIV among women. We know that women are disproportionately impacted by HIV. Last month I wrote a blog post, Taking Action for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: What can you do? In this post I shared highlights from the White House meeting on National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (March 10). 

How will you take action during NWHW? We'd love to hear from you and encourage you to leave a comment on this post.

April 05, 2011


Highlights from the White House Meeting for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

By Jennie Anderson, Communications Director

Last month I attended a White House meeting for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (March 11). This meeting brought together leaders from across the country and focused on where the response is today when it comes to HIV among women and girls in the U.S. After the event I spoke with some of the panelists and the following video provides a few highlights from my conversations.

The meeting covered a range of topics from HIV prevention to research to policy. After Jeffrey S. Crowley (Office of National AIDS Policy) opened the event, Congresswoman Donna Christensen (U.S. Virgin Islands) talked about "What Can YOU Do: Take Action" and among other topics discussed the need for community designed and driven interventions. Next up Gina Brown (Office of AIDS Research, National Institutes of Health) provided an epidemiological overview of HIV and discussed what makes women biologically, anatomically, and behaviorally susceptible to HIV, along with some highlights of the iPrEX and Caprisa trials.

Then there were the following three panel sessions with Q&A: 

  1. Taking Action Against HIV/AIDS: Effective Strategies for Prevention. Moderator: Janet Cleveland (Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention); Panelists: A. Toni Young Exit Disclaimer (Community Education Group), Cristina Pena Exit Disclaimer (Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation), Barbara Joseph Exit Disclaimer (Positive Efforts, Inc.)
  2. Getting the Help You Need: Access to Care. Moderator: Frances Ashe‐Goins (Office of Women’s Health, HHS); Panelists: Mardge Cohen (Rush University), Heather Hauck (Maryland Department of Health and Mental, Hygiene), Hadiyah Charles (Suffolk University)
  3. Social Marketing and Messaging Techniques; Moderator: Mark Ishaug Exit Disclaimer (AIDS United); Panelists: Regan Hofmann Exit Disclaimer (POZ Magazine), Susannah Fox Exit Disclaimer (Pew Research Center), Cheryl Smith (AIDS Institute, New York State Department of Health)

The event concluded with closing remarks by Tina Tchen (Office of the First Lady).

Again, we encourage you to check out our video Exit Disclaimer with a few brief interviews with some of the speakers. Interested in learning more about the event? Watch the complete White House video Exit Disclaimer.

March 18, 2011


IHS Statement on National Native American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

By Yvette Roubideaux, M.D., M.P.H., Director, Indian Health Service

This Sunday, March 20, marks the 5th observance of National Native American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This day is set aside to acknowledge that HIV continues to threaten the health and well-being of Native communities.  On this day we celebrate our successes and plan how to best continue working in partnership to address HIV and AIDS among Native people.

HIV is a considerable problem in Indian Country.  From 2006-2009, the rate of HIV diagnoses among American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) increased.  AI/AN also face more risk factors than some other groups, such as higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases and substance use.  As an American Indian physician and a member of a tribal community, I want to do everything in my power to reduce the spread of HIV.

To combat this epidemic, our National IHS HIV/AIDS Program, in collaboration with IHS, tribal, and urban providers, has increased preventive screening in IHS facilities, including providing free online training on a wide range of HIV/AIDS related topics.  We are also disseminating locally-generated best practices within our communities to increase HIV/AIDS testing and outreach activities.

For the first time since the beginning of this epidemic, the United States has a National HIV/AIDS Strategy.  Federal agencies from across the government, including the Indian Health Service, recently worked together to release detailed operational plans for implementing this collaborative strategy within their agencies.  These operational plans describe the steps to be taken to meet our goals of reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care and improving health outcomes for people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related health disparities.

In addition to encouraging testing for HIV, this day also allows us the opportunity to thank dedicated staff and community members who continue to improve services, foster partnerships, and advocate for American Indians and Alaska Natives.


Defying the Odds: End the Rise of HIV/AIDS in Native American Communities

By Charlie Galbraith, Associate Director, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement (Cross-posted from the Office of National AIDS Policy Blog)

HIV remains a highly stigmatized condition. It is a serious medical condition and people still die of AIDS.  Nonetheless, we have highly effective treatments for people living with HIV and better tools than ever before to prevent infection. As uncomfortable as it may be for some people to talk about HIV and AIDS, discussing the basic facts about transmission, testing, and treatment are essential to stopping this epidemic in its tracks. That is why on Sunday, March 20th, we will commemorate the fifth annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to educate and encourage American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) to take action to stop the spread of this disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that American Indians and Alaska Natives represent less than 1 percent of those living with HIV. However, these communities continue to be impacted by HIV. CDC surveillance data show that from 2006 through 2009, the estimated annual rate of HIV diagnosis increased among AI/AN people. In 2009, the estimated rate of HIV diagnosis was 9.8 per 100,000, higher than the rate for white and Asian Americans. Additionally, the CDC estimates that approximately 26% of AI/AN people living with HIV are unaware of their infection. Once diagnosed with AIDS, AI/AN people are less likely to survive compared to HIV-positive individuals in other communities.

Continue reading "Defying the Odds: End the Rise of HIV/AIDS in Native American Communities " »

March 16, 2011


Observing National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

By RADM Scott Giberson, MPH, National HIV/AIDS Principal Consultant, Indian Health Service


This Sunday, March 20th, the Indian Health Service (IHS) joins American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities, Native Hawaiian communities, and the nation in observing the fifth National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Originally coordinated by Tribal organizations across the country, recognition of this day has been adopted by native and non-native communities throughout the country as an opportunity to:

  • raise local HIV awareness
  • educate others about HIV prevention and testing
  • improve the health and future of AI/AN communities

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released an updated report on HIV/AIDS in the United States. This report shows that AI/AN people diagnosed with HIV or AIDS continue to experience a shorter life span than other Americans living with HIV or AIDS.

These numbers are not just statistics. They represent our friends, neighbors, and families. Every AI/AN person whose life is threatened, shortened, or harmed by HIV is one of us. The IHS mission to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level requires that we partner with communities to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

It is through local partnerships that IHS has been able to develop and support an expanded HIV testing initiative that links programs to training, resources, policy, and a growing network of other implementers. Expanded testing and early diagnosis, allow us to improve the health of individuals living with HIV/AIDS by providing the best available treatment as soon as possible. It also can strengthen local HIV education efforts by beginning conversations about preventing new infections.

The focus of all our partnerships is to prevent the spread of HIV and help those who are living with HIV. This includes our collaborative work with Federal colleagues in implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Building on the President’s call to action in the Strategy, enhanced coordination and leveraging of information and resources is occurring nationwide.

Although we have made significant progress thus far, much more work needs to be done. I sincerely hope that the community observances of this day result in 364 more days of increased awareness and HIV testing, reduction of stigma, and, ultimately, the elimination of new infections as well as support for people living with HIV or AIDS and their families. I urge you to use this day to reach out in your community and enhance its celebration of life.

For more information about HIV and AIDS and available resources, please visit the IHS HIV/AIDS program website and If you're on Twitter, don't forget to use the hashtag #NNHAAD Exit Disclaimer for all of your tweets around this observance.


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