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NMAC Commemorates National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day


Contact: Circe J. Gray Le Compte, Director of Communications
National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC)
1931 13th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
Telephone: (202) 483-NMAC (6622) ext. 309; (202) 352-7240

NMAC Commemorates National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day This March 20

March 20th, 2009 ~ Washington, DC ~ The National Minority AIDS Council
(NMAC) commemorates the third annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness
Day (NNHAD) today, March 20. Established by the National Native American
AIDS Prevention Center (NNAPC), NNHAD falls on the first day of spring,
which represents a new beginning for more HIV resources on testing and early
detection, as well as for more treatment options for Native Americans –
American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians.
"The incidence of HIV/AIDS has risen dramatically in recent years in Native
communities and cannot be ignored," says Paul A. Kawata, Executive Director
of the National Minority AIDS Council. "It is imperative that we take action
and support HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment in American Indian,
Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities."

Native communities have the highest rate of HIV infection after African
Americans and Latinos. More alarming, Native peoples tend to be diagnosed
with HIV later, and are more likely to progress to AIDS, than their white
counterparts. According to a 2008 report from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, American Indians and Alaska Natives also survive for
a short period of time after being diagnosed with AIDS than Asians and Pacific
Islanders, whites and Hispanics.

Native gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM) bear the burden of
HIV/AIDS in their communities, representing nearly 75% of all new cases
contracted through sexual contact and injection drug use among American
Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. Native women also are
increasingly impacted, accounting for 29% of all HIV/AIDS diagnoses within
their communities.

"These statistics indicate that stigma and social determinants – such as lack
of access to education and health care – play a role in HIV transmission in
Native communities, as they do in other communities of color" says Ravinia
Hayes-Cozier, NMAC's Spokesperson and Director of Government Relations
and Public Policy.

About NMAC
The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) builds leadership within
communities of color to address challenges of HIV/AIDS. Since 1987, NMAC
has advanced this mission through a variety of programs and services,
including: a public policy education program, national and regional training
conferences, a treatment and research program, numerous publications and a
website: Today, NMAC is an association of AIDS
service organizations providing valuable information to community-based
organizations, hospitals, clinics and other groups assisting individuals and
families affected by the AIDS epidemic. NMAC's advocacy efforts are funded
through private funders and donors only. For more information, call NMAC
directly at (202) 483-NMAC (6622) or Visit the
agency online at, as well as on and on Pictures and
video clips from past NMAC events are available from
(, and, respectively.


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