President Joe Biden in his 2023 presidential proclamatioin for World AIDS Day, which is Friday, December 1, 2023, said: "My message is simple: Let us finish the fight."
In the Indian Country the fight to eradicate AIDS is far from over.
Indian Health Service (IHS) says as many as 34% of the American Indian and Alaska Native people living with HIV infection do not know it. People who don't know that they are living with HIV don't seek the medical care available to support them in living a healthy, full life. In contrast, people who know that they're HIV positive can protect their health and take action to prevent spreading the virus to others.
The IHS National HIV/AIDS Program is committed to partnering with communities to create lasting change in the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We provide programs to assist individuals, families, communities, and health care providers to:
- Understand how HIV is spread, and share knowledge about HIV with others
- Get tested for HIV
- Put policies and procedures in place to offer a HIV testing as a routine part of all health care
- Improve access to care, treatment, and prevention services needed by people living with HIV and AIDS
IHS providers throughout the country are offering screening more often, collaborating with communities to increase education, and offering care or referrals where direct care is not available. We can all help to reduce the stigma within our culture and among health care providers regarding HIV/AIDS.
In his conclusion of his presidential proclamation, President Biden said:
"On this 35th World AIDS Day — let us honor all the families who have lost a loved one to this disease and all the people currently living with HIV/AIDS. Let us remember the activists, scientists, doctors, and caregivers who have never given up in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Let us recommit to finishing this fight — together."
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