2011 National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
A&PI WELLNESS CENTER, THE BANYAN TREE PROJECT AND NATIONAL ASIAN PACIFIC WOMEN'S FORUM COMMEMORATE NATIONAL A&PI HIV/AIDS AWARENESS DAY
On Tuesday, May 17, 2011 A&PI Wellness Center, the Banyan Tree Project and National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF) held a press conference spotlighting the alarming growth in new HIV infections among Asian and Pacific Islander (A&PI) women. The press conference commemorated the 7th annual National A&PI HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and featured a panel discussion with a personal story from women living with HIV and the presentation of new HIV and STD data trends affecting A&PI women.
While HIV is still seen as a men's issue, the disease continues to rise unchecked among A&PIs and A&PI women in particular. Recent analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that A&PIs have the highest rate of increase in new HIV infections in the nation, the only statistically significant growth among any racial or ethnic group, and yet two-thirds of A&PIs have never been tested for HIV. The rate of increase for A&PI women is actually higher than that of A&PI men, but the misconception that A&PIs are not at risk for HIV persists—even among healthcare providers who discourage A&PIs from getting tested. In fact, a recent study by panelist Dr. Hyeouk Chris Hahm indicates that A&PI women are less likely than other ethnic groups to be offered an HIV test in OB/GYN settings.
Panelists included Dr. Hyeouk Chris Hahm, a leading researcher on A&PI women's sexual health from Boston University; Sonia Rastogi from Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Diseases in Oakland; and Jaimie Callahan, an HIV community advocate from Hawai'i, who is also living with HIV. The moderator was Priyanka Singha, the 2009-2010 Miss India USA and co-host of the popular Sony Entertainment Television talk show, Andaaz.