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Lawmakers press IHS to confront HIV/AIDS on Navajo Nation

Filed Under: Health | National | Politics
More on: arizona, cdc, hiv/aids, ihs, navajo, new mexico

New HIV cases on the Navajo Nation. Image from The Farmington Daily Times on May 6, 2013.

Lawmakers whose districts include the Navajo Nation are urging the Indian Health Service to confront a rise in HIV cases on the reservation.

In 2012, the IHS saw 49 new cases of HIV infection on the reservation, according to a recent report from the agency That was up from 39 new cases in 2011, 35 cases in 2010 and 40 cases in 2009.

"The number of Navajo Members newly infected with HIV has risen by over 400% in the past 13 years, when new cases are truly preventable," Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico), Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-New Mexico) and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Arizona) said in a letter to IHS Director Yvette Roubideaux.

"Left untreated and uncontrolled, HIV can have devastating effects upon tribal communities and families, particularly those in isolated areas of the Navajo Nation," the letter continued.

The letter also was addressed to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Related Stories:
IHS physician urges action on Navajo Nation HIV/AIDS cases (05/20)
IHS continues to see rise in new HIV cases on Navajo Nation (05/06)

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