American Indian and Alaska Native stakeholders shared input on the next national HIV and viral hepatitis strategies and the new federal sexually transmitted infections (STI) plan during a listening session sponsored by the HHS Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) on May 15 at the National Tribal Public Health Summit in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Representatives from other federal partners—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Indian Health Service, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)—joined OIDP staff to listen to stakeholders’ ideas, concerns, and recommendations to inform the development of these strategic documents, which are expected to be released in 2020.
Organized by the National Indian Health Board, the summit gathered more than 500 tribal public health professionals, elected leaders, advocates, researchers, and community-based service providers. Comments received covered a range of topics, including the need to: engage Tribal communities in developing these strategies and plans; have tribal-specific goals; provide resources to achieve the goals set forth in the plans; support provider training and education on STIs and viral hepatitis, including educating providers on stigma and other sensitive issues; make hepatitis C medicine available; address increases in congenital syphilis among Native American infants and pregnant women and provide services and support for them; offer culturally and age-appropriate sexual health education and resources; and provide funding to tribes to address HIV, viral hepatitis, and STIs.
OIDP and its federal partners are grateful for the input received from these stakeholders, who represented multiple tribal communities and spanned urban, rural, and frontier settings across Indian Country. In collaboration with our federal partners, OIDP is analyzing the input collected at this and all of the other listening sessions, along with the stakeholder feedback received in response to the Requests for Information published in the Federal Register. This input will inform the development of the next iterations of the National HIV Strategy, the National Viral Hepatitis Strategy, and the new STI Federal Action Plan.