National Native HIV AIDS Awareness Day

National Native HIV AIDS Awareness Day

National Native HIV AIDS Awareness Day

Chapa-De Indian Health Auburn Grass Valley | Medical Clinic

You may have read our blog post on World AIDS day in December, but today is very important in our community because we are observing National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. HIV/AIDS affects American Indians and Alaskan Natives more than some other ethnic groups.

What is HIV/AIDS?

HIV stands for human immunodefiency virus. It is a virus that spreads through certain fluids and attacks the immune system, which is responsible for fighting off viruses in the body. This means that your body can no longer fight off different infections and diseases and you can get sick much easier and faster.

When HIV goes untreated, it can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS. AIDS is the most severe phase of HIV infection. People with AIDS have horribly damaged immune systems and develop severe illnesses called opportunistic infections. People who progress to AIDS without treatment usually live for only three more years.

How are American Indians/Alaskan Natives affected?

  • In 2016 American Indians and Alaskan Natives had the fourth highest rate of HIV diagnoses among all races/ethnicities in the United States.
  • Between 2011 to 2015, HIV diagnoses increased by 38% among American Indian and Alaskan Native people.
  • Only 81% of American Indians and Alaskan Natives who were living with HIV/AIDS in 2015 had been diagnosed. This means that many American Indians and Alaskan Natives are living with HIV/AIDS and don’t know it. Because of these facts, it is especially important for American Indians and Alaskan Natives to be aware of HIV/AIDS, know the signs, and take precautions against contracting it.
  • Click HERE for more information on how HIV/AIDS affects American Indians and Alaskan Natives.

Symptoms of HIV/AIDS

While there are a few symptoms for HIV/AIDS, the only sure way to know if you have it is to get tested. Knowing if you are infected by HIV/AIDS is incredibly important because it tells you if need to take precautions so as not to transmit it to someone else.

Potential symptoms of HIV are:

  • Flu-like symptoms within 2 to 4 weeks of infection
  • Click HERE for more details on flu-like symptoms

Potential symptoms of AIDS are:

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Recurring fever or night sweats
  • Prolonged swelling of lymph glands
  • Lasting diarrhea
  • Sore of the mouth, anus, or genitals
  • Pneumonia
  • Blotches on the skin in the mouth, or on the nose or eyelids
  • Memory loss, depression, and other neurologic disorders
  • Click HERE for more information on potential AIDS symptoms

These symptoms are not conclusive. The only way to find out for sure if you have HIV/AIDS is to get tested. If you think you may have been in contact with HIV, you should get tested immediately.

How to Prevent Contraction of HIV/AIDS

To make sure you do not become infected with HIV/AIDS, take care to:

  • Use a condom during sex
  • Know your sexual partner’s history
  • Reduce your number of sexual partners
  • Do not share needles or syringes
  • Treat HIV as soon as possible after infection by starting antiretroviral therapy (ART)
  • Learn more about preventive behaviors HERE.

There is currently no cure for HIV. This means that once you contract the virus, you will have it for life. However, early diagnosis is extremely important because when HIV is treated there is a much smaller risk of progressing to AIDS.

At Chapa-De we offer confidential HIV screening. This means you can come in for a test while maintaining your privacy. To schedule an appointment, call our Auburn location at (530) 887-2800 or our Grass Valley location at (530) 477-8545 or visit us online at

National Native HIV AIDS Awareness Day
Chapa-De Indian Health Auburn Grass Valley | Medical Clinic


Chapa-De provides medical care, dental care, optometry, behavioral health, pharmacy services and much more.

Serving all American Indian, Low Income and Limited Income Community

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