WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Murkowski last night won final passage of a resolution designating March 20, 2008 as National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 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. “This resolution helps call attention to this problem. In order to reduce this alarming threat, we must coordinate our efforts as best we can to fight the increasing prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Native populations.”

The resolution recognizes the increasing threat that HIV/AIDS poses 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.