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National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Wednesday is the first annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

The National Native American AIDS Prevention Center, the Indian Health Service and tribal and health agencies across the country are using the event to draw attention to rising rates of HIV/AIDS in Indian Country. American Indians and Alaska Natives are less than 1 percent of the general population but have the third highest rate of HIV infection and AIDS diagnosis.

"Native people are more likely to live in rural areas, and many rural areas have limited HIV testing services," said Laurie Kops of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. "Stigma about HIV and fear of seeing people they know from their communities at local health-care facilities may also stop people from getting tested. Native people also confront issues like poverty, alcohol, and methamphetamine use, and these impact health and increase infection rates."

A program and reception tomorrow night at the Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing room marks the first annual event. The program starts at 6pm in Room 485 of the Russell Senate Office Building.

Relevant Links:
National Native American AIDS Prevention Center -

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