This article presents the latest data on trends in AIDS prevalence among Native American men and women and discusses problems of classification, data collection, factors that contribute to high risk, and factors that affect prevention and intervention. It presents a model for building effective prevention and intervention strategies.
The number of people in the United States diagnosed with AIDS has risen by less than 5% per year since 1992, and the slowdown is estimated to continue in coming years. Among Native Americans, however, the number of people diagnosed with AIDS rose 8% in 1997, and nonwhites accounted for more than one-half of all reported AIDS cases through December 2000. For Native Americans, the rate of growth in AIDS prevalence has been steadily increasing since the early 1980s, and AIDS is now the ninth leading killer of Native Americans between the ages of 15 and 44. Factors that contribute to high risk include poverty, homophobia, denial, and mistrust.
Effective strategies must include efforts to reduce the risk factors for AIDS. Future research should honor and celebrate diversity among people as an empowering force that facilitates collaboration and shared learning with tribes.
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