Culturally appropriate HIV/AIDS and substance abuse prevention programs for urban Native youth.
This article will examine HIV/AIDS and substance abuse prevention for urban Native youth in Oakland, California. It will highlight the Native American Health Center's Youth Services programs. These programs incorporate solutions based on a traditional value system rooted in Native culture and consisting of youth empowerment, leadership training, prevention activities, traditional cultural activities and wellness and life skills education. They aim to reduce HIV/AIDS and substance abuse risk for American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth through structured, community-based interventions. The Youth Services Program's events, such as the Seventh Native American Generation and the Gathering of Native Americans, offer effective and culturally relevant ways of teaching youth about American Indian/Alaska Native history, intergenerational trauma, and traditional Native culture. Satisfaction surveys gathered from these youth provide invaluable data on the positive effects of these prevention efforts. The need for culturally relevant and culturally appropriate HIV/AIDS and substance abuse prevention programs for urban AI/AN youth is apparent. These prevention efforts must be creatively integrated into the multidimensional and complex social structures of Native American youth.