National Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2022 [VIDEO]
Sunday, March 20 marks National Indigenous HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD) 2022. Held annually on the first day of spring, NNHAAAD presents opportunities to highlight the impact of HIV on Indigenous communities, including American Indians, Alaska Natives, American Indians and Native Hawaiians, and to encourage HIV testing, prevention, education and care. This year’s theme is “Reflection. Party. Rejuvenation.”
Search the hashtag #NNHAAD to find many events, articles and videos planned around the awareness day, like this interview on AIDSVu.org:
#NNHAAD is this sunday – read more about #HIV in Native American/Alaska Native communities from our conversation with Harlan Pruden, First Nation Cree scholar and HIV activist. Learn more at https://t.co/NgoSZH5ILn pic.twitter.com/hP1CxvXEKj
— AIDSVu (@AIDSVu) March 17, 2022
The Q Austin, a “a fun, weird, and safe space for the LGBTQIA community in Austin” Texas hosted a Facebook Live chat on March 18 with two-spirited drag king Papi Churro in honor of NNHAAD. You can watch the event here and below:
To help raise awareness of HIV this year, the National Native HIV Network is hosting a 22-mile #NNHAAD virtual challenge from March 20 through April 22. Participants have one month to log their miles and can accomplish this by walking, running, canoeing, biking or other physical activity. It’s a free event, and anyone can participate; the first 500 to complete their miles will receive a medal and a T-shirt. You can register at https://bit.ly/NNHAAD22M.
In 2018, Native Americans/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) made up 1.3% of the US population and 1% of the estimated 36,400 new HIV cases that year. That translates to 240 people in 2018, down from 140 in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
AIDSVu.org, which maps HIV data and presents shareable graphs, points out that gay and bisexual men accounted for 82% of new HIV diagnoses among IA/NA men in 2020. In the same year, drug use injections accounted for 43% of new HIV cases. diagnoses in AI/AN women.
Additionally, AIDSVu.org stresses that it is “important to recognize how social determinants of health can negatively impact HIV-related health outcomes for Indigenous communities due to a lack of access to affordable health care and financial insecurity. For example:
- In 2019, 6.1% of the AI/AN population was unemployed, compared to 3.7% of the US population.
- In the same year, 15% of the AI/AN population was uninsured, compared to 8% of the American population.
New #HIV American Indian/Alaska Native diagnoses are on the rise again, increasing by 11% between 2018 and 2019. #NNHAADlearn more about the disproportionate impact of HIV on this underserved community: https://t.co/LYsmO9AQMD pic.twitter.com/tIpLV6E5KK
— AIDSVu (@AIDSVu) March 17, 2022
The five states with the highest number of new HIV diagnoses among AI/AN people in 2020 were Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Alaska and Minnesota. Together, these states accounted for 54% of new HIV cases among the AI/AN population.
The CDC highlights key challenges in HIV prevention among AI/AN people, writing:
There are over 574 federally recognized AI/AN tribes and many different languages. Since each tribe has its own culture, beliefs, and practices, it can be difficult to create prevention programs that are culturally appropriate for each group. Additionally, racial misidentification of RNs/ANs may lead to undercounting of this population in HIV surveillance systems and may contribute to underfunding of targeted services for RNs/ANs.
Some RNs/ANs face social, cultural, and economic barriers such as stigma, privacy issues, and poverty. These issues could limit opportunities for HIV testing, treatment, and other prevention services, especially among RN/NA people who live in rural communities or on reservations. Addressing these barriers and encouraging communities of support can help improve health outcomes for RN/NA individuals.
Other factors that can increase the risk of contracting or transmitting HIV include:
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In 2018, AI/AN people had the second highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea among all racial/ethnic groups. Having another STD increases the risk of contracting or transmitting HIV.
Knowledge of HIV status. It is important that everyone knows their HIV status. People who do not know they are HIV-positive cannot benefit from HIV care and treatment and can unknowingly transmit HIV to others.
Use of alcohol and illicit drugs. Alcohol and substance use can impair judgment and lead to behaviors that increase the risk of contracting HIV. Injection drug use can directly increase the risk of contracting HIV if a person shares needles, syringes and other drug injection equipment, such as stoves, with someone infected with the virus. Compared to other racial/ethnic groups, RN/AN people tend to use alcohol and drugs at a younger age and use them more often and in greater amounts.
Why celebrate Aboriginal HIV Awareness Day on the first day of spring? As the founders of the event explain on NNHAAD.org, “This day was chosen by members of the community who had participated in a national survey to determine which day would be the most appropriate. It has been recognized that in many indigenous cultures throughout the United States, the four seasons are highly respected as they closely represent the cycle of life. Spring also represents a time of equality and balance and is the only day when day and night are of equal length. It is seen as a time of profound change, new beginnings and birth: a celebration of life for all. »
To learn more about other HIV Awareness Days, including a calendar you can download and print, visit 2022 HIV/AIDS Awareness Days.