Epidemiological Profile of HIV/AIDS in Minnesota

Risk Populations: American Indians

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HIV/AIDS Prevalence among American Indians

As of December 31st 2014, there were 121 American Indians living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota. Although this only accounts for 2 percent of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota, American Indian persons have more than twice the rate of people living with HIV than white, non-Hispanic persons (198.6 per 100,000 persons and 90.3 per 100,000 persons respectively).

While the number of cases among American Indians in Minnesota has been relatively stable and low it is important to note this group has been found to have their race misclassified often by providers. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the HIV/AIDS Surveillance data for five states found that thirty percent of American Indian cases were misclassified, mostly as white1. It is possible that similar misclassification occurs in the Minnesota data and impacts the reported number of cases for American Indians in the state.

Bertolli J, Lee LM, Sullivan PS, AI/AN Race Ethnicity Validation Workgroup. Racial Misclassification of American Indians/Alaska Natives in the HIV/AIDS Reporting Systems of Five States and One Urban Health Jurisdiction, U.S., 1984-2002. Public Health Reports, 122(3):382-392, 2007


HIV Diagnoses among American Indians

Over the past ten years, new infections among American Indians has remained relatively low with an average of 6 new diagnoses a year with low of 3 diagnoses in 2005 and a high of 11 diagnoses in 2010. In 2014, there were 5 HIV/AIDS diagnoses among American Indians, two male and three female.

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Gender and Mode of Exposure

Of the 12 American Indian males diagnosed between 2012 and 2014, 37% had an estimated mode of exposure of MSM, 27% IDU, 18% MSM/IDU, and 18%heterosexual contact with someone with or at risk for HIV infection. Of the 9 American Indian females diagnosed between 2012 and 2014, 75% had an estimated mode of exposure of heterosexual contact with someone with or at risk for HIV infection and 25% IDU.


Compared to other race/ethnicities, HIV positive American Indians have a higher percentage of people living in Greater Minnesota (outside the 11-county metro area) at 23%. This is not surprising since there are several Indian reservations in Greater Minnesota.

HIV Treatment Cascade among American Indians

There were 116 HIV positive American Indians included in the HIV Treatment Cascade analyses. Compared to the overall treatment cascade in Minnesota, American Indians have a higher percentage in retention in care, but lower percent of the population virally suppressed.

There were six diagnoses among American Indians in 2013 that were included in the linkage to care calculation. All six diagnoses linked to medical care within 90 days of their diagnosis. It is important to note the numbers of HIV cases in this community are quite small, particularly for linkage to care measure and should be interpreted carefully.

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Updated Thursday, July 07, 2016 at 11:50AM