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According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), among Natives HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) has been increasing since 2014.
The risk of getting or spreading HIV varies depending on the type of exposure and behavior. The common places people get or spread HIV is through anal or vaginal sex, or sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment - for example, cookers.
The best way to prevent HIV is to educate the public about the disease (including transmission, risk factors and prevention methods). Both North Dakota and South Dakota have many resources available for HIV prevention, with specifics for each listed below.
HIV stigma negatively affects the health and well-being of all people with HIV.
Additional education and training materials, resources, and opportunities available at the national and state levels that Tribes can take advantage of are listed below.
The AIDS Education and Training Center (AETC) offers a wide array of free resources, webinars, and training on its website: http://aidsetc.org/resources. Websites that provide free educational materials and printable handouts:
HIV/AIDS prevention materials and condoms can be ordered from the North Dakota Department of Health through a form that can be obtained by following this link. The North Dakota Department of Health also expressed interest in partnering with Tribes to produce culturally-sensitive prevention materials and conduct outreach to promote testing events. Contact Lindsey VanderBusch at 701-328-4555 for more information.
The South Dakota Department of Health occasionally offers trainings at the state-level, many of which are pre-recorded and regularly available. Those interested should contact Susan Gannon at 605-773-4785 or visit http://www.effectiveinterventions.org.
South Dakota also has an HIV Prevention Planning Group (PPG), which makes decisions about HIV prevention in the state. The PPG’s meetings are open to the public and offer time for public comments. Contact April Ivey at 605-773-4785 for more information.
Since the late 1980s, the Great Plains Area Indian Health Service recognized the possibility of HIV transmission during the Sundance ceremonies that occur annually on many of the reservations. With this possibility in mind, it is recommended that education about HIV be provided to Sundance leaders and dancers and that precautions be taken to ensure their safety while respecting the sacredness of these ceremonies.
Getting tested, understanding risk factors, receiving comprehensive counseling, and referral to services are crucial steps between the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.
HIV.gov also offers a very convenient way to locate testing sites and other HIV services near you. Simply go to the HIV Testing Sites and Care Services Locator on their website and enter your location.
If you are sexually active, you need to be informed. Follow this link to learn how to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections.