HIV/AIDS/STD Prevention Program Success Story
The Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board, Inc. STD/HIV/AIDS Prevention program has hosted The Circle of Harmony which is a unique event. It is the only conference of its kind devoted to addressing HIV/AIDS prevention and substance abuse prevention from a distinctly Native American perspective.
The use of storytelling; the Talking Circle; and the presentations or prevention/treatment/service tools, techniques, and/or approaches that are specific to tribal communities are not found in any other conferences of this type.
Circle of Harmony features a Talking Circle that provides a safe and nurturing space for everyone to share their experiences, thoughts and feelings about the many challenges we face in these times of HIV/AIDS. The principle of confidentially is adhered to in reference to what is disclosed during the talking circle.
Support and care is given to all who attend. Every participant has an opportunity to speak from their heart without interruption or judgment. Native Americans have come to trust and accept the tenants of this conference because of culturally appropriate way topics are presented at the conference.
Since its inception in 1999, the Circle of Harmony (COH) has sought to fill gaps in knowledge about HIV infection. Experts familiar with HIV infection, risk factors associated with infection, and Native communities have been recruited to present at the conference. Health care workers, substance abuse counselors, Community Health Representatives, educators, and others who work directly with Native Americans were invited and encouraged to attend the conference. Tribal leaders were also encouraged to attend to learn about factors which put their own community members at risk of HIV infection.