Officials say rate of HIV may be leveling off


World AIDS Day is every Dec. 1 and in the Navajo Nation it’s no different.

On Monday at the Tsehootsooi Medical Center, health officials from the Navajo Health Education Program, along with Dr. Alithea Gabrellas, an HIV specialist, and HIV pharmacists Ginger Turner and Gladys Williams, formed a partnership to observe the worldwide effort to honor those living with HIV and those who have lost their lives to AIDS.

The theme of World AIDS Day in 2014 is to “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation,” through partnerships among stakeholders and interventions that work to achieve an AIDS-free generation, according to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention.

The CDC reports that an estimated 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Across the U.S. there are approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV, with new HIV cases remaining relatively stabled from 2008 to 2012.
In the Navajo Nation, there are approximately 200 patients with an HIV-positive status seeking treatment from the several Indian Health Service hospitals and P.L. 93-638 health facilities under the Navajo Area Indian Health Services, said Gabrellas.

“My patients are doing really well,” said Gabrellas, noting that in 2014 there were six new cases of HIV in the service unit area of Tsehootsooi Medical Center.

Tsehootsooi serves approximately 16 Navajo communities, including large chapters like St. Micheals and Fort Defiance.

Categories: Health