National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is March 20th!
March 9, 2021
National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD) has been observed every year on March 20th since 2007. This day originally started as a collaborative, national effort to increase awareness, mobilize, and highlight the work of HIV prevention among American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.1
The date chosen to observe NNHAAD has special significance. March 20th is the first day of Spring, which is considered "a time of equality and balance and ... a time of profound change, new beginnings and birth; a celebration of life for all people."2 Focusing on new beginnings and balance is a positive way to reflect on HIV/AIDS and start conversations, while also reducing stigma often associated with HIV/AIDS.
Prevention of, testing for, and treatment of HIV have changed significantly since the virus emerged over three decades ago. Medications commonly known as PrEP and PEP, when taken correctly, can effectively stop the transmission of HIV. Testing for HIV and knowing your HIV status is also a great way to prevent the spread of HIV and take control of your own health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once. HIV treatment consists of taking medications known as antiretroviral therapy (ART). With proper treatment, most people can get the virus under control and lead healthy lives. To find HIV prevention services near you, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/testing/index.html.
The theme for NNHAAD 2021 is Zero is Possible Together: Innovation + Awareness. Although the usual community gatherings and testing events that might normally take place on this day aren't possible this year, taking time to take care of yourself, your health, and the health of your community could be a great way to observe NNHAAD.
Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center: https://www.glitc.org/programs/epidemiology-and-education
Sources: 1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - March 20. Updated February 18, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/library/awareness/nnhaad.html 2. National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. https://www.nnhaad.org/