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Health
Miss Navajo Nation tackles tough issue: HIV/AIDS


Jocelyn Billy is using her position as Miss Navajo Nation to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS on the reservation.

Billy, 24, says education is key to preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. She's had to overcome cultural taboos about death and disease but says the effort is worth it.

"For her to talk about HIV and STDs is phenomenal," Marco Arviso of the Navajo AIDS Network told the Associated Press.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of HIV and AIDS diagnosis for American Indians and Alaska Natives was 10.6 per 100,000, compared with 72.8 for blacks, 28.5 for Hispanics, 9.0 for whites and 7.6 for Asians and Pacific Islanders. Among Navajo-area American Indians, the incidence rate was 7.6 per 100,000 in 2005 and 7.8 per 100,000 in 2006.

The Navajo Area Indian Health Service identified 240 HIV and AIDS cases between 1985 and 2006, the AP reported. Tribal officials have documented a rising number of cases each year.

Get the Story:
Navajos continue to battle AIDS, HIV (AP 6/9)
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Relevant Links:
National Native American AIDS Prevention Center - http://www.nnaapc.org

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