December 01, 2011

Natives fight HIV/AIDS

World AIDS Day:  American Indians Join the Fight ‘Getting to Zero’ New HIV InfectionsDecember 1 marks World AIDS Day, a global health day first held in 1988 to unite people in the fight against HIV/AIDS, show support for people living with HIV/AIDS and commemorate those who have died from the disease. This year’s theme is “Getting to Zero,” calling for zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.And:Native American organizations and Tribal health programs across the country are also joining the effort to combat HIV/AIDS. To commemorate World AIDS Day, the Center for Prevention and Wellness at Salish Kootenai College on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Pablo, Montana will host free HIV testing and offer information for the community. The Center focuses on HIV/AIDS education, awareness and treatment. The program launched in 2004 and now stands as an example of best practices for culturally relevant education, diagnosis and treatment.

The National Native American AIDS Prevention Center (NNAAPC) recently named Niki Webster Graham, the Center’s prevention programs director and a member of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, as the 2011 recipient of its Honoring the Red Ribbon Award. Graham also works with seven reservations in Montana, three reservations in Idaho and various other Tribal health centers to help them develop local HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs.
Comment:  For more on Native health, see Screw the Drugs Music Video and Horn-Miller in Working It Out Together.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The good news is, HIV-related deaths and new cases are both dropping. We're not quite to zero yet, though.

Indians have relatively low seroprevalence rates, though. Around the same as Europe, which is less than the United States but more than Japan or China. There was an outbreak among the Lakota in 1992 because of a Sun Dancer who didn't tell anyone he was positive; those guys are probably all dead now. But most oddly, the AIDS activists rely on what I've started to call "proctomancy", pulling predictions (manteia) out of one's, um, you know. For the last 20 years, they've been saying that Indian reservations will be like South Africa in less than a decade. They've said the same about China.

For the most part, in my experience, UNAIDS has been a cargo cult: "We've promoted condoms, fidelity, abstinence, and circumcision, and seroprevalence rates in Kenya have dropped; it must be the circumcision!" (It's not, but gay activists have issues with anything questioning the value of multipartnering, and religious groups have an issue with condoms.)