HRC Blog

National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Today, on May 19th, we observe National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and speak up in support of the Asian Pacific Islander community to end the stigma around HIV and AIDS. The prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS is a top priority for the Human Rights Campaign as we advocate for a national AIDS strategy to provide a comprehensive roadmap to end the epidemic, for increased spending for community-based programs which provide vital health services to persons living with HIV/AIDS, and for the expansion of programs to prevent new infections. This priority takes on a greater sense of urgency for us as we consider the following: According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

  • The number of APIs living with AIDS has climbed by more than 10 percent in each of the last 5 years;
  • Sixty-seven percent of API men living with HIV/AIDS in 2005 are men who have had sex with other men;

And according to the Banyan Tree Project, a partnership of the Asian Pacific Islander Wellness Center –

  • 1 in 3 Asians and Pacific Islanders living with HIV don’t know it
  • Over half of Pacific Islanders have never been tested for HIV
  • Over two-thirds of Asians have never been tested for HIV

We invite our members and supporters to participate in a National Asian Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day event in your city. Also, if you are an Asian Pacific Islander lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer person (API LGBTQ) in need of peer support, please visit the website of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) and check out their descriptive directory of over 30 API LGBTQ organizations around the country, Queer Asian Compass. Many of these organizations provide referrals to HIV/AIDS services as well as provide social support to members of the API LGBTQ community. Additionally, we want to highlight that yesterday, May 18, was National HIV Vaccine Awareness Day.  During the past year there has been significant progress in HIV vaccine research, most notably, a major clinical trial in Thailand has provided the first indication that an experimental vaccine can protect some humans against HIV infection.  Now the priority for researchers is to try and understand how the vaccine worked in some individuals with the HIV infection and to build on those results. While this study yielded positive results, researchers are clear much more information and data is needed.  For this reason, we encourage you to get tested and talk about HIV/AIDS in your communities because “saving face can’t make you safe.” Please check out the video below and find more resources at the Banyan Tree Project.

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