National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

March 18, 2024

March 20th is National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This is an opportunity to reflect on the factors that contribute to disparities in HIV outcomes for American Indian/Alaska Native persons and to promote HIV testing through programs like

March 20th is National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.  While the rate of HIV diagnoses slowed for many Americans from 2017 to 2021, among American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) persons the rate increased from 8 per 100,000 to 9.1 per 100,000 and the number of AI/AN living with HIV increased from 2,759 to 3,2761.

Meanwhile commercial tobacco use is more prevalent among AI/AN than any other racial/ethnic group2 with 26% of AI/AN living with HIV reporting tobacco abuse3.  This intersection between HIV and commercial tobacco use leads to poorer outcomes for HIV treatment compared to nonsmokers and an increased risk of getting cancers compared to smoking alone.

Knowing your HIV status, taking medication to prevent or treat HIV and becoming smoke free are important steps to living a healthy life.

Explore to get a free HIV and STI tests and watch Nichelle Brown explain why commercial tobacco use is particularly harmful for people living with HIV.


  1. CDC. Diagnoses of HIV Infection in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2021. HIV Surveillance Report 2023; 34
  2. Office on Smoking and HealthNational Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2022
  3. Connel C, Stroup JS, Stephens JR, Martin E. Characteristics of Native Americans with HIV and implications for care. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2014 Apr;27(2):103-6. doi: 10.1080/08998280.2014.11929070. PMID: 24688187; PMCID: PMC3954657