Native AIDS activist Lisa Tiger visits Salt River Indian Community
SALT RIVER INDIAN COMMUNITY - Lisa Tiger, a Native American AIDS activist, spoke at the Salt River Indian Community Nov. 30 at the Community's Health Center in honor of World AIDS Day, which is observed every Dec. 1 to raise awareness of the AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) pandemic caused by the spread of HIV, also known as the human immunodeficiency virus.
To date, AIDS has killed more than 25 million people, along with an estimated 38.6 people living with HIV, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history.
"Lisa Tiger is a model of perseverance for Native Americans, she has overcome health issues and personal issues," said Alvaro Canez of the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community Health Education and Tobacco Education Prevention Department.
"In the past she has delivered powerful messages that are spoken from life experiences, it's her presence and character that allows listeners to relate and take the risk of contracting HIV seriously. The information she presents emphasizes that no one is exempt from contracting HIV. If an individual has had unprotected sex at any time in their life, they are at risk since most people carrying the virus are unaware that they have contracted it. Her experience and drive is key to educating and that's why we will enjoy having her back for another World AIDS Day."
Tiger, a member of the Muscogee Nation and is of Creek, Seminole, Cherokee and Irish descent, has committed her life to AIDS education since learning she was infected with the virus in 1992.
She was infected by a boyfriend in 1988 in her hometown of Muskogee, Okla., and she went from HIV to AIDS in 1999.
Tiger has won numerous awards for her work as an AIDS educator. A special highlight of her life has been her dedication to her family that includes raising abandoned and abused children.
Additionally, she married acclaimed Pueblo potter Diego Romero. The couple has a daughter, Cornelia Margaret TaLadu Dana, after an extremely difficult pregnancy in which Tiger almost lost her life.
AIDS education continues to be a vital part of Tiger's life as well her dedication to her family. The family divides their time between Santa Fe, N.M. and Muskogee, Okla.
Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 3.1 million lives in 2005 of which more than half a million were children.
World AIDS Day originated at the 1988 World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention. Since then, it has been organized by a number of governments, international organizations and charities around the world.
For more information on the event, call the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community Relations Department at (480) 850-7342.