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By on February 29, 2016

National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was first observed in 2007. This day is observed on the first day of Spring each year. The 2016 observance will be recognized on March 20th.

The 2016 theme is “Hear Indigenous voices: Uniting the Bold Voices of American Indians, Alaska Natives (AI/AN) and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islanders”.

This National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, keep these facts in mind:

Overall, the effect of HIV infection on AI/AN is proportional to their US population size. However, within the overall statistics of new HIV infections and diagnoses, certain measures are disproportionate in this population group relative to other races/ethnicities.

HIV and AIDS Diagnoses and Deaths

  • AI/AN men accounted for 78% (169) and AI/AN women accounted for 22% (49) of the estimated 218 AI/AN diagnosed with HIV infection in the United States in 2013.
  • Of the estimated 169 HIV diagnoses among AI/AN men in 2013, most (71%; 120) were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact.
  • Of the estimated 49 HIV diagnoses among AI/AN women in 2013, the majority (69%, 34) were attributed to heterosexual contact.

There is still much work to do in combatting new HIV infections. Check out Tommy’s story in the video clip.


The IHS National HIV/AIDS Program (HIV/AIDS) coordinates and promotes HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment activities specific to Indians as part of a comprehensive public health approach. In addition to providing medical care to eligible beneficiaries, the IHS also serves as a public health system.


The goals of the HIV/AIDS Program are to prevent further spread of HIV and improve health outcomes for those already living with HIV and AIDS. These goals are supported through the following:

  • identifying new approaches to implement effective prevention interventions;
  • developing HIV prevention and care standards and performance measures;
  • reducing and preventing new infections by communicating public health messages on the importance of knowing personal HIV status;
  • increasing routine HIV screening;
  • increasing access to care and improving health outcomes for people living with HIV and AIDS;
  • developing policies and procedures to sustain preventative successes including confidentiality concerns;
  • utilizing media to expand access to information about testing, stigma prevention, and HIV education for health care providers and AI/AN people; and
  • providing technical assistance to Indian Tribes, Tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations regarding these HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs.