Jodi Rave: National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness

"Mark Parra, a gay man who has lived with HIV for 20 years, embraces the first-ever National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which takes place Wednesday.

Parra vividly remembers the day he walked into a San Francisco clinic to see if he was HIV-positive. As he waited for the results, the Navajo man prayed to the Creator.

“Oh God, if you allow me to test negative, I'll change the way I live,” Parra said Tuesday. But his pleas didn't work. “I basically walked around San Francisco for two days in shock.”

In 1987, AIDS was a death sentence. “My mom - it killed me - she was silent on the phone,” he said. “I knew she was crying.”

Even though most Americans have been aware of HIV/AIDS for the past 25 years, health leaders and community advocates only recently began addressing it as an epidemic in Indian Country. More than 1 million Americans have HIV, and 40,000 new infections are diagnosed each year. Native people have the third highest rate of AIDS diagnoses of all races in the U.S., ranking behind blacks and Hispanics."

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Native AIDS Day aims to increase awareness (The Missoulian 3/21)

Related Story:
Indian AIDS awareness focus of day (Gazette News Services 3/21)

Relevant Links:
National Native American AIDS Prevention Center -

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