WASHINGTON, D.C. –Senator Lisa Murkowski last week won final passage designating today as National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The resolution encourages Federal, State and tribal governments to coordinate efforts in HIV/AIDS testing and in the promotion of prevention activities to further efforts in the reduction of HIV/AIDS infection rates among American Indian and Alaska Natives.

“The spread of HIV/AIDS within American Indian and Alaska Native communities is alarming,” said Senator Murkowski. “It is important that we are calling more attention to this problem. Our efforts must be coordinated on multiple levels to fight the increasing prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Native populations.”

HIV/AIDS poses an increasing threat to Native American and Alaska Native communities. According to the CDC, American Indians and Alaska Natives have the 3rd highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection in the United States, after Blacks and Hispanics. Native Americans and Alaska Natives face economic and social factors that elevate the threat of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Native communities – including the highest disease and mortality rates in the United States compared to other racial and ethnic groups, consistently high rates of poverty, inadequate education, and a lack of access to quality health services.