HIV/AIDS Awareness Days Feed

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.

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.

March 10, 2011


What Women and Girls Should Know About Drug Use and HIV/AIDS

By R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (Cross-posted from the ONDCP Of Substance Blog)

R. Gil Kerlikowske

R. Gil Kerlikowske, ONDCP

Even with the unique challenges and stresses women and girls face in today's society, informed and thoughtful decisions can help ensure women and girls are full and unhindered participants in this Nation's race to win the future. Today, on National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, it is important to raise awareness among women and girls about the intersection of drug use and HIV/AIDS.

Drug users, particularly those who inject, are among the groups with the highest risk of HIV infection; injection drug use accounts for approximately 14 percent of new HIV infections in the U.S. There is also an increased risk for HIV infection for people who use non-injection drugs, such as methamphetamine or "meth." Stimulant drugs like meth reduce inhibitions, which can lead users to engage in increased and risky sexual activity – often with multiple partners – greatly increasing their risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were an estimated 1,106,400 persons living with HIV in the United States at the end of 2006. CDC estimates that 56,300 new HIV infections occurred in the United States in 2006. Each year, between 16-22 million persons in the United States are tested for HIV. However, at the end of 2006, approximately 1 in 5 (21%, or 232,700 persons) did not know they were infected.

Continue reading "What Women and Girls Should Know About Drug Use and HIV/AIDS" »


National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: What Can You Do? Take Action!

By Regina Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General (Cross-posted from the Office of National AIDS Policy Blog)

Today is the sixth annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a nationwide initiative coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH) to make more people aware of the increasing impact that this deadly epidemic is having on women and girls in the United States. This is the time when we ask individuals and organizations across the country to bring attention to this epidemic and to take action to prevent the spread of this disease.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, women have been impacted by HIV and AIDS. Over the last two decades, the proportion of estimated AIDS cases diagnosed among women has more than tripled, from 7 percent in 1985 to 25 percent in 2009. Women of color are especially impacted—HIV diagnosis rates for Black women is nearly 20 times the rate for white women. HIV infection is one of the leading causes of death among Black and Latina women age 25-44 years.

Most important, an estimated one in five people living with HIV infection do not know they are infected. An HIV screening should be as routine as a blood pressure screening.   To find HIV testing and other services near you go to

Tomorrow, on March 11, people from around the United States will gather at the White House to discuss how to educate women and girls about prevention, about the importance of getting tested, and about how to lead a healthy life despite being infected. They will examine effective strategies not only for prevention, but for showing women and girls how to get the care they need and how they can take action. I hope you’ll come back to for videos from the event and stay tuned to Exit Disclaimer for updates. You can also watch the event live at

Hundreds of similar events will also take place across the country. To learn more about National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and to see how organizations are joining OWH in taking action, visit . Also, to learn about the White House National HIV/AIDS Strategy and Implementation Plan, visit the ONAP website

March 08, 2011


Taking Action for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: What can you do?

By Jennie Anderson, Communications Director


March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD). This annual observance encourages people to take action around HIV and to educate each other about the epidemic's impact on women and girls. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), "Women and girls of color—especially black women and girls—bear a disproportionately heavy burden of HIV infection. In 2009, for adult and adolescent females, the rate of diagnoses of HIV infection for black females was nearly 20 times as high as the rate for white females and approximately 4 times as high as the rate for Hispanic/Latino females".

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health (OWH) is the lead organizer for the day and this year’s theme is “Women and Girls Taking Action in the Fight against HIV/AIDS. What can YOU do?” Throughout March, many local organizations in the United States will hold HIV education and testing events. If you want to know what’s happening in your area, we encourage you to check out these event listings. Also, do you have a Twitter account? If so, don't forget to use the hashtag #NWGHAAD Exit Disclaimer for all of your tweets around this observance.

Are you organizing an event for NWGHAAD? Or looking for a simple way to take action? Posters, graphics, web badges, and e-cards are available on the NWGHAAD resource pages. Now it's time for you to decide: What can you do?


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