In June 2023, NACCHO convened over 100 people from American Indian/Alaska Native-run and supporting organizations, the Indian Health Service (IHS), state and local health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other national partner organizations to discuss how the sexual health needs, and especially STI disparities, in the AI/AN communities are being addressed and how greater connection with local and state health departments could support that work. Coming out of the two-day meeting, NACCHO has created a final report sharing some of the key takeaways and aspirational recommendations for these partnerships moving forward. The report can be read here.
The disproportionate impact of STIs on AI/AN communities originates from historical traumas of violent colonialism and displacement, and ongoing experiences of racism, impoverishment, and lack of access to care. Just as all parts of our society have contributed to this epidemic, so must we all work together to address it. This convening was a significant one for NACCHO to better understand how local health departments can work with AN/AI communities and individuals to address STIs. We all know that sexual health and especially STIs cannot be tackled via one group or approach—we must work together. NACCHO will continue to elevate this need to work together and for local and states health departments to be a resource for and ally in the provision of sexual health services across AI/AN communities.
Please keep your eyes and ears open for future opportunities where we can work together and reach out where NACCHO can support this work across the country.