Health Crises In Native Americans

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Health Crises in the Native American Population For hundreds of years, Native Americans have had to face many hardships in their lives. These hardships include drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, and diseases. Due to these reasons, Native Americans have an average life expectancy of 73.7 years; 4.4 years shorter than the average white American (“Indian Health Services…”). Native American communities face huge challenges because of chronic health conditions such as type two diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and mental illness. With over 16% suffering with type two diabetes, Native Americans double the non-hispanic white average of 8.7% (“American Indian..”) suffering from the hated disease, due in part to their lifestyle choices. An average Native American’s…show more content…
From 2010 to 2014 Native Americans were the second most likely ethnic group to be diagnosed with STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, which increases one’s chance of getting or transmitting HIV (“HIV Among American Indians…”). Any sexually transmitted disease is easily preventable but some are not curable. The lack of knowledge within Native American communities is the biggest reason that the diseases are spreading. In 2012, one in five infected Native Americans were unaware that they were living with HIV (“HIV Among American Indians…”), opposed to the white American population where one in eight infected is unaware (“HIV in the United…”). This causes an increase in Native American infections because the disease is passed on unknowingly and accidentally. Shana Cozad, a member of the Kiowa tribe, was diagnosed after her partner revealed he had AIDs. Whether her partner knew and didn’t want to tell her or had no idea, didn’t change how Cozad was feeling about her diagnoses, saying, “I even had my own stigma about who gets the disease and what they might look like. I wasn’t an I.V. drug user, I hadn’t slept around and didn’t associate myself with those kinds of people” (Yasmin). Many Native Americans, primarily homosexual/bisexual men, are afraid to go seek treatment or help because of this cultural stigma…show more content…
Adolescent Native American females have a four times higher suicide death rate than a white American female. In 2014, suicide was the leading cause of death for Native Americans girls and young women (ages 10-34), and the second leading cause of death for overall Native Americans (ages 10-34) (“Office of Minority…”). With federal budget cuts, tribes are not able to fund mental health services for those who need help. The Oglala Tribe in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, is seeing the negative consequences those cuts have created. Cathy Abramson, chairwoman of the National Indian Health Board, said at a Senate committee meeting in Washington, “Since the beginning of the year, there have been 100 suicide attempts in 110 days on Pine Ridge. We can’t take anymore cuts. We just can’t” (Morales). Arialdi Miniño, a statistician, told Huffington Post how Native American suicides are looked at, saying, “We always focus on non-Hispanic white males in particular, because they do represent the vast bulk of the problem. But, it seems to me that the American Indians are particularly vulnerable here as a group. I don’t know if that is always represented and taken into account” (“Native American Youth..”). The fact that in 2014, 830,000 Native Americans had a diagnosable mental illness (21% of the Native American population) (“Native American Communities…”), shows that there is a problem within their community. If Native
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