Recognizing Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders as part of Native American Heritage Month

Posted November 13, 2021

We continue to celebrate Native American Heritage Month by highlighting the peoples indigenous to Hawai’i and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands. This includes the Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Guamanian or Chamorro, Mariana Islander, Saipanese, Yapanese, Chuukese, Pohnpeian, Kosraean, Marshallese, and I-Kiribat populations.

Although Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders (NHOPI) account for a very small percentage of new HIV diagnoses in the United States (US) and dependent areas, HIV affects NHOPI in ways that are not always apparent because of their small population size. In 2018, NHOPI made up 0.2% of the US population. Check out this CDC page to get the latest data on HIV among NHOPI, learn about the prevention challenges that some face, and discover the progress being made.

Through direct, on-site training, and multi-platform distance learning methods, Pacific AETC-HIAPI bridges the enormous distances of the region to strengthen HIV clinical care, testing, and prevention efforts for native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Learn more about the work of Pacific AETC-HIAPI.

View the CDC’s comprehensive fact sheet on HIV and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

Learn more about HIV among NHOPI communities below:

Infographic: New HIV Diagnoses Among NHOPI in the US and Dependent Areas by Sex and Transmission Category, 2018

HIV Diagnoses Among NHOPI in the US and Dependent Areas, 2014-2018

There are several challenges that place some NHOPI at higher risk for HIV: Socioeconomic issues. Poverty, inadequate or no health care coverage, language barriers, and lower educational attainment may make it harder for some NHOPI to get HIV testing and care. icon of stop sign with stigma text Cultural factors. NHOPI cultural customs, such as not talking about sex across generations, may stigmatize sexuality in general and homosexuality specifically. This could result in lower use of HIV prevention methods like condoms. icon of a tablet Limited research. With limited research about NHOPI health and HIV, creating targeted HIV prevention programs and behavioral interventions for this population can be challenging. icon of computer monitor with magnifying glass Data limitations. The reported number of HIV cases among NHOPI may not reflect the true HIV diagnoses in this population because of race/ethnicity misidentification. This could lead to an underestimation of HIV infection in this population.

For further information on HIV and Native American populations, explore the Indian Health Service’s comprehensive list of resources.

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