IHS Awards $2.4 million to Tribal Epidemiology Centers for diagnosis, treatment and response to HIV, hepatitis C and STIs

Published October 8, 2019

ROCKVILLE, Md. — The Indian Health Service has awarded $2.4 million to nine Tribal Epidemiology Centers to support American Indian and Alaska Native communities in reducing new HIV infections and relevant co-morbidities, specifically hepatitis C and sexually transmitted infections. The awards were made as part of IHS’s implementation of Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America   throughout Indian Country.

The Tribal Epidemiology Centers will participate in regional- and national-level coordination, provide technical assistance and disease surveillance support to communities, and support the development of community plans to end the HIV epidemic throughout Indian Country.

“While efforts to end the HIV epidemic in Indian Country are not new, what is new is a coordinated, focused, national initiative – Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan For America,” said IHS Principal Deputy Director Rear Adm. Michael D. Weahkee. “Tribal Epidemiology Centers will build capacity in specific regions that will help increase the level of HIV treatment and prevention efforts across Indian Country.”

The Tribal Epidemiology Centers will address the four strategies of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative:

(1) Diagnose—The Tribal Epidemiology Centers will analyze and report the burden of HIV and other relevant comorbidities such as other sexually transmitted infections and hepatitis C in tribal and urban Indian communities;

(2) Treat—The Tribal Epidemiology Centers will support American Indian and Alaska Native communities in identifying and treating people who are not in care, including those with a recent diagnosis of HIV, hepatitis C, or sexually transmitted infections and those who have fallen out of care.

(3) Prevent – The Tribal Epidemiology Centers will help prevent new HIV infections through collaborative partnerships among tribal, state, and local health departments, to expand and routinize HIV diagnosis, treatment, prevention and response.

(4) Respond—The Tribal Epidemiology Centers will provide support to communities to respond to people newly diagnosed with HIV as well as to identify people who were never linked to care or those who have fallen out of care.

American Indian and Alaska Native communities experience higher rates of HIV, hepatitis C, and sexually transmitted infections. Confronting these intersecting epidemics requires collaboration across sectors and disciplines and the enhancement and use of existing public health and clinical infrastructures.

Resources to support this critical building block of the Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America   initiative were provided by the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund, which is administered by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health   ’s Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy   .

As articulated by the president during his February 2019 State of the Union address, the initiative offers an unprecedented opportunity to end the HIV epidemic in America by 2030. This initiative provides access to powerful and effective HIV prevention and treatment tools and new technology that allows us to pinpoint where infections are spreading more rapidly. By effectively providing at-risk communities—including tribal and urban Indian communities—with these tools, we can end the HIV epidemic in America.

Tribal Epidemiology Center recipients City State
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium – Alaska Native Epidemiology Center Anchorage AK
Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board – Albuquerque Area Southwest Tribal Epidemiology Center Albuquerque NM
Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council – Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Lac Du Flambeau WI
Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board – Great Plains Tribal Epidemiology Center Rapid City SD
Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. – Inter Tribal Council of Arizona Tribal Epidemiology Center Phoenix AZ
Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board – Northwest Tribal Epidemiology Center Portland OR
Seattle Indian Health Board – Urban Indian Health Institute Seattle WA
Southern Plains Tribal Health Board – Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center Oklahoma City OK
United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc. – United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc. Tribal Epidemiology Center

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