Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/20/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Culture, behavior may be to blame.

As the number of HIV cases spikes among Navajo people, doctors are becoming increasingly worried that the virus is reemerging after years of success in beating back the disease in the United States. Cultural taboos and the closeness of Navajo society may be to blame.

AIDS is more deadly for Native Americans than for people of other races.

AIDS is more deadly for Native Americans than for people of other races.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/20/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Navajo, HIV, AIDS, health, taboos, gay, culture, testing, disease


GALLUP, NM (Catholic Online) - Infections of HIV are up about 20 percent in 2012 with 47 new cases diagnosed on the reservation near Gallup New Mexico. A new report from the Indian Health Services shared the alarming statistics which represent the single largest number of annual infections reported by the agency.

Dr. Jonathan Iralu, an infectious disease specialist, told the New York Times, "I'm scared to death. The numbers show there is a dangerous rise, and the time to act is now, before it's too late."

Dr. Iralu compiled the report and spoke to the publication about his early experiences with the disease in the late 1980s. Iralu reflected on how men would enter the hospital "with a fever or a cough, and a few days later they would be dead," the story explained.

Over the past decade, advancements have been made in HIV/AIDS awareness and in treatments that can stall the progress of the disease, thus prolonging the life of patients by years to decades.

However, in 2012, the disease appears to have come back with a  vengeance. There are now About 200 Navajo patients being reported by clinics. The actual rates of infection may be much higher.

Cultural barriers prevent people from speaking to family and friends about their illness and even elders of the tribe refuse to speak about it, let it become a self-fulfilling prophecy that the tribe will suffer from the disease.

Yet, the disease is present and spreading.

The majority of the clients Dr. Iralu sees are men engaged in homosexual activity. They still keep their relationships private and rarely speak to others. These men seek treatment, but do not discuss their behavior or illness with others, making it difficult to stop the spread of the disease.

It's easy to understand why. One Navajo man told Dr. Iralu that when he told his mother he had HIV, she refused to speak to him and served his food on disposable plastic plates.

The man, now 48, has been accepted by his mother only because he explained how the disease is transmitted and that it cannot be transmitted via plates and utensils. This would suggest the power of communication as a solution, however the unidentified man also told the doctor that he would not discuss his illness with his brothers because they might shun him.

Reservation life is very close-knit and everyone on the reservation knows one another. Privacy is difficult to come by. This leads to stigmatization and an avoidance of treatment and other behaviors that could save lives because people would rather suffer quietly than be embarrassed before their family and friends.

The issue is significant for the Navajo and for all Native Americans. Native Americans have a lower survival rate than any other group. This is a direct result of delayed testing and diagnosis. Early detection of HIV is critical to prolonging a victim's life.

The prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse as well as diabetes also exacerbates the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the reservation, leading to earlier deaths.

Dr. Iralu told the New York Times that he's afraid of what will happen if the people do not become more open about discussing HIV and getting tested. "I'm afraid that if we wait too long it could turn into a true epidemic," he said.

For people who have already withstood depredations of epidemic disease and racial abuse, it's even more tragic to see cultural taboos exacerbating a problem that could otherwise be effectively addressed.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2016
Universal:
Small Farmers: That small farmers may receive a just reward for their precious labor.
Evangelization: African Christians: That Christians in Africa may give witness to love and faith in Jesus Christ amid political-religious conflicts.



Comments


More Health

Are you bored? Here's why and here's how to fix it! Watch

Image of Boredom is usually caused by overstimulation.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Are you bored? Is boredom a constant visitor in your life? If so, you could be suffering from overstimulation. Fortunately, the condition is curable. Here's how. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Most Americans are chronically bored. According to British ... continue reading


2 billion in danger of Zika this summer - are YOU prepared? Watch

Image of Zika is expected to spread across the tropic and subtropical areas in Asia, Africa and the Americas (123rf).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Scientists at the University of Oxford and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle estimate 2.2 billion people are at risk of contracting Zika. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A map published in the journal eLife indicated sections of South ... continue reading


Health insurance premiums about to rise for those who pay them Watch

Image of Obamacare is becoming more painful than ever.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Insurance companies are telling Obama and the American people they must permit them to raise rates substantially, or they will pull out of the Obamacare markets. This is more proof Obamacare is designed to fail. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Insurance ... continue reading


Sweaty billboards save lives? Watch

Image of The new billboard prototypes have been erected in Zika-infested countries (Posterscope/NBS).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Hate mosquitoes? Love living the bug-free life? These crazy sweaty billboards are exactly what you need! LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Billboards have been created to smell like human sweat while simultaneously shooting out carbon dioxide to attract, trap and ... continue reading


Is pornography the new cigarettes? Watch

Image of

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Is pornography the new cigarettes? According to some research, the answer is yes, prompting Utah officials to declare pornography a public health crisis. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - In the 1950s, nearly half of all Americans smoked cigarettes. There was ... continue reading


Can't sleep? Then don't read this horrifying article about KILLER insomnia Watch

Image of Fatal Familial Insomnia is a horrifying killer. About 40 families in the world have the deadly genetic mutation in their genes.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Imagine one night, you prepare for bed, but you cannot sleep. It's the latest in a spat of insomnia that seems to be worsening. The sleepless nights turn into days, then weeks without sleep. Eventually, you lose the ability to sleep altogether. What's happening and ... continue reading


First Zika infection between gay couple reported in the United States Watch

Image of Zika affects everyone - regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation (Queerty).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed the case of sexually transmitted Zika virus between two men in Dallas, Texas. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - One of the men had traveled to Venezuela, where he was bitten by a Zika=infected mosquito.When he returned ... continue reading


Health insurance premiums to increase dramatically in 2017 as Obamacare inches towards failure Watch

Image of Obamacare is bound to fail. Only 1 person is surprised.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Health insurers are asking permission to raise their rates next year as they warn about the financial stability of Obamacare. Some are threatening to drop out of the Obamacare marketplace because they cannot make money. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Although ... continue reading


'It's everywhere around us': Deadly bacteria makes its way across the midwest Watch

Image of Cases of Elizabethkingia have been spreading across the Midwest (freestockphotos).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A common and usually harmless bacteria has resulted in at least 20 deaths in the Midwest. Meanwhile, 57 people have been diagnosed with the bacterial infection, which originated in Illinois and has since traveled to Wisconsin and Michigan. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Your prescription co-pays are about to skyrocket. Here's why Watch

Image of We're addicted and the manufacturers are greedy. This is why your prices will continue to skyrocket.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Spending on prescription drugs is expected to pick up over the next four years according to a report from the health information company, IMH Health Holdings. Americans may spend as much as $640 billion for their medications in 2020. LOS ANGELES, CA (California ... continue reading


All Health News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Why are these transparent wires being put up in cities around the world?
  • A Marriage Blessing Prayer HD Video
  • St. Catherine of Siena: Saint of the Day for Friday, April 29, 2016
  • Daily Readings for Friday, April 29, 2016
  • 5 tips for Catholics to stay positive
  • Daily Reading for Sunday, May 1st, 2016 HD Video
  • LISTEN NOW: Benedictine nuns release new album

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 15:7-21
7 and after a long discussion, Peter stood up and addressed them. 'My ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:1-2, 2-3, 10
1 Sing a new song to Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh, all the earth!2 ... Read More

Gospel, John 15:9-11
9 I have loved you just as the Father has loved me. Remain in my ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 28th, 2016 Image

St. Peter Chanel
April 28: In St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr (Feast day ... Read More