March 20, 2009 marks the third annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD). This day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on Native people. HIV continues to increase among Native people as it has over the past decade. American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) had the third highest rate per 100,000 persons (above Whites) of AIDS diagnoses in 2006, despite having the smallest population.
The purpose of this day is to: 1) encourage Native people to get educated and to learn more about HIV/AIDS and its impact in their community; 2) work together to encourage
testing options and HIV counseling in Native communities; and 3) help decrease the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. It is a time to reflect on those who have passed as well as those who are currently infected and affected by HIV/AIDS - a “Celebration of Life” for all Native people.
Because NNHAAD is a nationwide effort, the National Native Capacity Building Assistance (CBA) Network that consists of: NNAAPC (National Native American AIDS Prevention Center), CA7AE: HAPP (Commitment to Action for 7th Generation Awareness & Education: HIV/AIDS Prevention Project), and ITCA (Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc), has made a “Call to Action” to Native people across the United States to participate in this effort. This call is to ensure Native communities realize that the epidemic is growing and to engage them in the prevention of and education about HIV and AIDS.
Please join us on this important day by organizing events in your local community. You can do this by handing out NNHAAD Save the Date cards at community events and
organizations in the days leading up to Awareness Day; putting up Awareness Day posters in clinics, schools, wellness centers or other community locations; and most importantly by organizing a local activity to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in your community on NNHAAD. This guide will assist you in planning and implementing your event. We have even included templates that can be used to develop your own press release so that you can inform your local newspaper, radio-station or other local media outlets of NNHAAD and about the intent of your local event.