May 19 is National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which is officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The Banyan Tree Project is the lead for the national campaign to end the silence and shame surrounding HIV/AIDS in A&PI communities. This year’s theme is “Saving face can’t make you safe. Talk about HIV — for me, for you, for everyone.”
According to the CDC, the number of AIDS diagnoses among APIs has increased steadily. Although APIAs have the same level of risk behaviors as other groups, APIs have lower testing rates, and many are diagnosed late in the course of the disease. APIs also face barriers to discussing safe sex and receiving culturally and linguistically appropriate prevention services.
Misperceptions about risk among A&PI women also contribute to HIV and other STDs becoming more common:
- 80% of A&PI women living with HIV got it from sex with a man (heterosexual contact)
- A&PI women are four times more likely to have an STD than an A&PI man
- A&PI women had the largest rate of increase in new HIV infections, higher than any other racial/ethnic group
These same misconceptions affect HIV testing rates and knowledge:
- 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
Each year, National API HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is commemorated with events around the country by organizations dedicated to providing HIV/AIDS services and raising awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS-related stigma.
There’s many things you can do to help spread the word:
- Follow Banyan Tree Project on Facebook and Twitter and share their postings and tweets. You can retweet their Twitter feed by using the hashtag #May19 for any National API HIV/AIDS Awareness Day-related tweets.
- Embed BTP videos on your web page, and blog after visiting their YouTube page
- Download and sign the Banyan Tree Pledge
- Attend or promote a National API HIV/AIDS Awareness Day event. Visit BTP’s Event Page for an event in your area.
- Embed or share BTP’s PSAs on your emails, web site, blogs, Facebook page or Twitter feed.
HIV testing locations, fact sheets, and other resources here.