AIDS is a very significant modern disease that reached prominence in the 1980’s. After it’s outbreak and prominence in that decade, more and more education and awareness were spread about it along with more treatments for the disease. This helped reduce fatalities and casualties related to AIDS and HIV.
However, when dealing with AIDS Alaskan natives and Native American Indians may face more challenges than other Americans. This is due to a number of unique factors that they face. These factors contribute to the challenges they face when dealing with AIDS and HIV.
A Brief Overview
Because of poverty, culture and their significantly smaller population sizes, Alaskan Natives and Native American Indians face more challenges with regards to AIDS and HIV prevention. It is not always so easy to distribute treatments and raise awareness in such a climate. It is also significant to note that these ethnicities have the highest rate of HIV infection caused by shared needles or other utensils that were exposed to HIV.
Because of differing cultures, the prevention of HIV in the Alaskan Native and Native American Indian communities can be a challenge. Often the cultures of different tribes are vastly different and diverse. Their religious beliefs and customs can differ greatly and could be in place for thousands of years. Such cultures and practices can sometimes have a way of hindering proper education and treatment of HIV and AIDS. Also, the atmosphere is also very rigid with gay men. Gays would often rather not come out about their sexuality and differing sexual orientation. With such secrecy could come more discreetness and even more hesitancy to being tested. This can lead to a lot of undiagnosed cases. Also, there is sometimes a general mistrust of the US government. With this, it can become difficult to spread treatment and awareness.
Factors like Poverty and Alcohol use
Poverty and alcohol use are prevalent in many tribes. Both can indirectly cause the spread of HIV. With poverty comes a lack of access to certain essential needs like education. Lack of education and awareness can promote the spread of HIV and even other STDs. Alcohol use, while not directly the cause of HIV spreading can indirectly spread it. This is because alcohol use greatly reduces inhibitions and often promotes more spontaneous actions. This can lead to sudden spontaneous acts that could have long-term consequences. Spreading HIV is one of them. Drug use is also a direct factor in the spread of the virus. Sharing needles that have been used by an infected individual is also another way of spreading the virus. These are the methods that are there that can spread the virus. Only proper education and awareness is the key. It is the first steps that must be taken. Once these steps are taken, real prevention and control of the AIDS, HIV virus can begin. It is very possible and doable. Proper steps must be ensured now to continue.