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Home News National Native Americans HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
David Morgan
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National Native Americans HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Native Americans Have the 2nd Highest Rate of New HIV/AIDS Cases in New Mexico

Community-based website offering resources and information about HIV, STDs, Viral Hepatitis, and Harm Reduction services across New Mexico. This searchable guide will help you find the best and most appropriate services in your area.National Native American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD) is being observed in New Mexico and across the nation on Friday, March 20th.

The goal of the day is to raise awareness about the impact that HIV/AIDS has on American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians and to honor those who are infected or affected or who have died due to the disease.

Data from the New Mexico Department of Health continues to highlight high rates of newly reported cases of HIV among Native Americans.   In fact, Native Americans now have the 2nd highest rates of new HIV infections among any ethnic/racial group in New Mexico. They represent the group with the lowest percentage of people surviving at 12 months, 36 months, and 60 months after being diagnosed with HIV infection, perhaps because many individuals learn their HIV diagnosis late because of delayed testing.

“The numbers show the importance of getting tested and knowing your status,” said Secretary of Health Retta Ward, MPH"It is a proven critical first step to getting life-saving treatment and care. People who know they have HIV are much less likely to spread their infection to others.  And persons who learn their HIV status earlier have better health outcomes."

According to the most recent statistics, Native Americans had a rate of new HIV diagnoses of 14.0 per 100,000 people.  In 2013, 145 adults and adolescents (ages 13 and older) were diagnosed with HIV infection in New Mexico. The northwest part of New Mexico (San Juan, McKinley, Cibola counties) had the second highest rate of new HIV diagnoses in the state in 2013.

The Department of Health’s Office of Health Equity is collaborating with health partners this week on multiple events promoting National Native American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, including the Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board (AAIHB) 5K Fun Run/Walk this Saturday, March 21st.   Department partners for NNHAAD events include the AAIHB, First Nations Community Healthsource (FNCH), New Mexico AIDS Education & Training Center and UNM Truman Health Services.

Many persons living with HIV don’t even know they are infected, and HIV testing remains an urgent priority for the Department of Health.  It is particularly important for Native Americans, who have higher rates of delayed and late diagnosis with HIV.   The New Mexico Department of Health HIV Prevention Program funds projects in all regions of New Mexico that aim to prevent HIV infection and help people make safer choices. Some of the risk reduction strategies include teaching people to use condoms, reminding them not to share syringes and helping to disclose HIV status to a partner.

Services available statewide include free HIV counseling, testing and referral services at Public Health Offices and community organizations. Community members can find test sites in their area using the state HIV/STD/Hepatitis Resource Guide.

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.

Versión en Español

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El Día Nacional de Concientización de HIV/AIDS Indio Americano Honra a Aquellos Afectados por la Enfermedad