Monday, March 20, marks National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD) 2023, which is held each year on the first day of spring and represents a celebration of life for all people. This year’s HIV awareness day theme is “Weaving Our Horizon: Strength. CommUnity. Equity.”
“On this day, we encourage all Native communities to plan events to promote HIV testing and continue education of HIV/AIDS,” write the event organizers on NNHAAD.org. “It is also a day to honor those who are living with or affected by HIV as well as to honor those who have passed as a result of AIDS-related complications.”
Native people include American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) and Native Hawaiians.
Search #NNHAAD on social media for relevant events, discussions and sharable graphics. You can also find infographics on AIDSVu.org, which also offers interactive maps based on HIV data.
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The good news regarding HIV is that AI/AN people are more likely than other Americans to have been tested for HIV. Specifically, in 2020, 48% of AI/AN people reported having been tested for HIV, compared with the national average of 39%.
According to AIDSVu.org, among AI/AN people who tested HIV positive in 2021, 15% (34 people) were ages 13 to 24, 40% (89 people) were 25 to 34, 22% (50 people) were 35 to 44, 16% (35 people) were 45 to 54 and 7% (16 people) were over 55 years old.
AI/AN women had the highest proportion (40%) of new HIV cases resulting from injection drug use. In comparison, 37% of new HIV diagnoses among white women were attributed to injection drug use, followed by 17% of multiracial women, 13% of Latina women, 9% of Black women and 7% of Asian American women.
AIDSVu points out several social determinants of health that affect HIV outcomes among AI/AN people. For example, using data from various sources covering recent years, AIDSVu notes that:
- 24.1% of AI/AN people were living below the poverty level, which is the highest proportion of any race and ethnicity. (Nationally, about 12.8% of the U.S. population is living in poverty.)
- 19% of AI/AN were uninsured compared with 8.7% of the U.S. population.
- The median income for AI/AN people is $45,877 compared with the national average of $64,994.
- 11.7% of AI/AN people were unemployed, compared with 8.1% of the U.S. population.
To learn more about other HIV awareness days, including a calendar you can download and print, visit “2023 HIV/AIDS Awareness Days.”