Monday, March 20, is National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD) 2017, held each year on the first day of spring. It’s part of a national effort to urge HIV testing, education and treatment among Natives, notably American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians.

According to the NNHAAD website, the goals of the awareness day are:

• Encouraging Native people to get educated and to learn more about HIV/AIDS and its impact in their community

• Work together to encourage testing options and HIV counseling in Native communities

• Help decrease the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.

The website includes downloadable posters, public service announcements like the one above, fact sheets, a PowerPoint presentation, tool kits and more.

Members of the Native American community chose to mark NNHAAD on the first day of spring—the vernal equinox—because it represents a time of equality and balance, a time when day and night are equal. It’s also a time to mark births and new beginnings.

Learn about all the 2017 national HIV-related awareness days in this POZ article.