National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and New Media
Wednesday, March 20 is National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD). While American Indians and Alaska Natives make up 1.7% (5.2 million people) of the total US population and accounted for <1% of new HIV infections in the U.S., but have one of the shortest survival times after HIV or AIDS diagnosis of all race/ethnicity groups. According to the CDC, when population size is taken into account, American Indians and Alaska Natives ranked fifth in estimated rates of HIV/AIDS diagnosis, higher than Asians and whites. An estimated one fourth (25%) of American Indian and Alaska Natives living with HIV are unaware of their HIV status.
On March 20 (and throughout the year), organizations around the country are using new media to educate Native Americans about HIV, to encourage HIV testing, and to help people living with HIV access care and treatment. Robert Foley, Director of the National Native AIDS Prevention CenterExit Disclaimer, told us, “For NNHAAD 2013, the NNHAAD planning committee (Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness CenterExit Disclaimer, CA7AE: HIV/AIDS Prevention Project âÂ€Â“ Colorado State UniversityExit Disclaimer, Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health BoardExit Disclaimer, Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc.Exit Disclaimer, and the National Native American AIDS Prevention CenterExit Disclaimer) decided to expand internet and social media presence in order to account for changing communication trends, and more importantly to tap into the ever growing number of Native Americans (youth included) that are relying upon mobile-based technologies for internet access, information, and day-to-day communication.”
Robert mentioned several new media activities to get involved with NNHAAD 2013:
- A website that houses NNAAD information, resources, contact information, and events mapsExit Disclaimer. This site will serve as a year-round resource for communities and tribes.
- An NNHAAD Facebook pageExit Disclaimer that allows community members to share their thoughts on the day and what they are doing locally to honor the day (it is a great way for community members to connect with each other).
- A search for the #NNHAAD hashtag earlier this month found that tweets regarding the Awareness Day were reaching 13,391 individuals.
“We hope next year to increase media presence, including a Google Hangout tour of the resources available,” Robert mentioned. “The goal is to make each year bigger, better, and increase the reach of this important day, and social media is allowing the planning committee to do that.”