Collaborating with Health Departments to Address the Needs of Native American Transgender Communities

By Lynne Greabell, Director of Member Service and Leadership Development, NASTAD

 Resources for Health Departments Working with Native American Communities

It is important for health departments that have a significant population of Native Americans to address the risk of HIV, STDs and viral hepatitis among Native transgender people. The risk for HIV infection among Native transgender people is evidenced by the fact that higher percentages of Native American GLBTQ youth report high-risk behavior among all youth, that the impacts of co-occurring factors that contribute to HIV risk such as suicides, substance use/abuse and other STDs are higher among Native Transgender people, and that 75% of HIV infections among Native American men were among men who have sex with men (MSM) in 2011.

Addressing HIV and Viral Hepatitis Among Native Gay Men and Two Spirit People

By Lynne Greabell, Director of Member Services and Leadership Development, NASTAD

Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2012In conjunction with the seventh annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, NASTAD published an issue brief, Native Gay Men and Two Spirit People and HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Programs and Services. The issue brief, developed by NASTAD’s Native American Networking Group (NANG) and Gay Men’s Health Equity Work Group (GMHEWG), provides specific recommendations for health departments to address HIV and viral hepatitis in Native American communities, consistent with the NASTAD and National Coalition for STD Directors’ joint policy statement “Getting to Zero: Scaling-Up Health Department Strategies for Gay Men/MSM.”

Native gay men and Two Spirit people (i.e., men who have sex with men [MSM] or what we would call male-bodied Two-Spirit individuals) face unique and specific challenges and opportunities related to their health and well-being such as stigma and discrimination due to their sexual orientation and gender status. Yet tribal traditions and connections through Two Spirit and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) networking also can serve as protective factors (e.g., opportunities for cultural pride and education about prevention of disease acquisition) for Native gay men and Two Spirit people. Continue reading