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Yá’át’èèh shik’èí dóó shidine’è

Hi, I am Vanessa! Thank you for helping me start the AIDS/LifeCycle journey.

As a proud member of the Navajo Nation, I am riding AIDS/LifeCycle to bring awareness to how HIV/AIDS affects American Indian/Alaskan Natives (AI/AN) communities. Due to culturally-based stigma, it is shunned to talk about negative scenarios in my tribal community because there is a long-held belief that what you say could become true, so discussing HIV/AIDS prevention measures, especially on the Navajo Nation are rather difficult to conduct.

Due to data misclassification, many AI/AN are not included in recent data and the small size doesn't always illustrate how HIV/AIDS truly impacts tribal communities. This misclassification leads to the continued erasure of Indigenous communities which can prohibit funding reaching those who need it most.

Due to the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, tribal community members may not receive early testing and unknowingly could transmit which would make tribal communities more vulnerable in addition to ongoing historical health disparities.

I am riding AIDS/LifeCycle to show support for loved ones living with HIV/AIDS and to remember those who have passed. My hope is that we can be aware of data misclassification and remind ourselves to not forget our Indigenous community members. We are still here!

I am riding 545 miles to bring awareness of how HIV/AIDS affects Native communities.

• HIV infection affects American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) in ways that are not always apparent because of their small population size. 

• Compared with other races/ethnicities, AI/AN have poorer survival rates after an HIV diagnosis. 

• AI/AN face special HIV prevention challenges, including poverty and culturally based stigma. 

• AI/AN have not been included in HIV/AIDS surveillance therefore they have not been included in recent data. 

• Even though the numbers of diagnoses for AI/AN are relatively low, these numbers may be affected by racial misclassification (a.k.a. "something else") 

• In Los Angeles, 56% of AI/AN with AIDS were racially misclassified.

More about Vanessa:

They are a product designer and cyclist based in Albuquerque, NM. Find social links & Strava via