As of 2003 there were 4.4 million AIAN in the U.S., constituting 1.5% of the total U.S. population, with 2.8 million or 1% self-identifying exclusively as AIAN. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that by 2050 the AIAN population will grow to 3.2 million with a projected rate of increase of 55%, exceeding the projected rate of increase for Whites and comparable to the rate for African Americans. Despite their wealth in cultural and tribal diversity. Natives in the U.S. experience considerable socio-economic disparities. For example, in 2003, AIAN compared to the U.S. population, reported a greater likelihood of living below the poverty level (27% vs. 15%) and lower overall median household incomes ($34,700 vs. $43,500);and reported higher unemployment (15.1% vs. 5.9%).? Moreover, 30% of the AIAN population lacks health insurance coverage. Indigenous populations suffer from pervasive patterns of health disparities, unequal burden of chronic illnesses, as well as disproportionate levels of morbidity (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular disease) and injury-related mortality (e.g., suicide, motor vehicle collisions). Natives also experience high rates of trauma (e.g., injury, motor vehicle accidents, homicide) and violence exposure (e.g., rape, sexual assault, combat exposure) with co-occurring disproportionate rates of psychopathology (i.e., PTSD, depression, anxiety, suicide, AOD disorders). In the U.S., Natives have escalating rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI), respiratory and reproductive health problems, as well as premature mortality related to chronic disease states. HIV/AIDS and STI have become major sources of concern for Natives. In a comprehensive review of STI and HIV among AIAN, Kaufmann and colleagues (2007) noted that the epidemiologic evidence points to excessively high case rates of STI among AIAN compared to the general population;with a greater burden borne by Native populations living in closer proximity to one another. For example, in the U.S., AIAN have the second highest rates of Chlamydia and gonorrhea. The potential for exposure to and transmission of HIV is greatly enhanced by these elevated STI rates. Indeed, elevated rates of STI may provide a 2-5 fold increased risk for HIV infection among AIAN in the U.S. According to data from the National HIV/AIDS Surveillance System through December 2008, a cumulative total of 3,741 AIDS cases among AI/AN have been reported to the CDC. In terms of the major modes of transmission, percentages for AIAN men were: MSM (64%), IDU (14%), and MSM/IDU (14%). Note that this last category is higher for AIAN men than any other ethnic group. For AIAN women, the percentages were IDU (37%) and heterosexual contact (50%). Note that the IDU transmission category for Native women is higher than for any other ethnic group. Since 1995, the rate of AIDS diagnosis for AIAN has been consistently higher than the rate for Whites or Asian/Pacific Islanders in the U.S. Additionally, when one takes the relative population size into account, a more disturbing picture emerges. The AIDS case rates for AIAN per 100,000 were 8.5 (11.9 for HIV rates), ranking them just behind Blacks (49.3;73.7 for HIV rates) and Hispanics/Latinos (15.0;25.0 for HIV rates). In our research (N=447;HONOR Project, R01MH65871), 30% of Native two-spirit (i.e., AIAN sexual and/or gender minority) men reported that they were HIV+ (19% reported they did not know their status). These numbers are unprecedented and suggest that the HIV/AIDS epidemic for Native MSM may be similar to Black MSM. Natives suffer disproportionate exposure to trauma and mental health disparities. Recent reports demonstrate that Native communities experience higher rates of sexual and physical violence than any other ethnic or racial group in the U.S/^ Among MSM in our HONOR project, 31% had experienced

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National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
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Walters, Karina L; Simoni, Jane M; Evans-Campbell, Teresa Tessa et al. (2016) Mentoring the Mentors of Underrepresented Racial/Ethnic Minorities Who are Conducting HIV Research: Beyond Cultural Competency. AIDS Behav 20 Suppl 2:288-93
Schultz, Katie; Walters, Karina L; Beltran, Ramona et al. (2016) ""I'm stronger than I thought"": Native women reconnecting to body, health, and place. Health Place 40:21-8
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