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Mahnomen to observe National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

MAHNOMEN – An event here will mark National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day next week.

The third annual Celebration of Life: National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Event – Mahnomen will be from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at Shooting Star Casino & Event Center, 777 South Casino Road.

A dinner and presentation on “Women, HIV and STIs” will be available. The event is sponsored by White Earth Tribal Health. Registration is required by calling Kim Turner with tribal health education at 218-983-3286.

The goal of National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is to raise awareness about the impact that HIV/AIDS has on American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians, and to honor those who are infected or affected or who have died due to the disease, according to a Minnesota Department of Health news release.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports Indian communities have the fourth-highest rate of new HIV infections in the U.S. Through 2009, 3,702 Indians have been diagnosed with AIDS and an estimated 2,387 are living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S.

The MDH reports 221 cases of HIV infection have been reported among Indians in Minnesota since the beginning of the epidemic and 96 of them have died. As of 2011, there are 121 Indians living with HIV in Minnesota.