HIV & AIDS Impacting Indian Country

Jorge Martin Melchor
12/19/12

 

HIV and AIDS cases are increasing among Native American populations. Officials say many Native groups lack the information about the diseases and how to prevent them from spreading, and that has resulted in a growing problem. Authorities in Arizona are trying to reverse that trend by encouraging people on the Navajo Nation Reservation and throughout Indian country to get tested, and educating Native populations about the spread of HIV. But they face difficult challenges, including traditional taboos in speaking of sex or death. They have tried to overcome that by incorporating traditional medicine in the treatment of HIV and AIDS. Dr. Paul Bloomquist, of Indian Health Services, urged Native Americans to get tested, even if they don't think they are infected. "One in five people don't know they have HIV infection, and the only way that they can prevent transmission to others and get well or prevent themselves from getting sick is to get tested and know their status," he said.

 

Specific to the Navajo Nation, use:

One medical center in the Four Corners region is working to reduce HIV transmissions among Navajos and offers culturally competent treatment and care. At the Indian Medical Center in Gallup, New Mexico, modern medicine meets traditional Navajo healing. Medicine men visit hospital rooms to offer ancient prayers, blessings and healing herbs for drinking. Dual treatment is encouraged by the Indian Health Service so patients feel more optimistic about their treatment and continue receiving care.

The following video is a discussion on the topic of HIV and AIDS in Indian country:

 

For more information on HIV/AIDS (center & underline)

National Native American AIDS Prevention Center: 1-720-382-2244

AIDS Treatment Data Network: 1-800-734-7104

HIV Health InfoLine: 1-866-HIV-INFO

National AIDS Hotline: 1-800-CDC-INFO

National Association of People With AIDS Hotline: 1-240-247-0880

National Prevention Information Network: 1-800-458-5231

 

Related: National Native AIDS Day Promotes HIV Testing as Infection Rates Are Rising in Indian Country

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