May 19, 2014

WASHINGTON—Today Rep. Madeleine Bordallo and 16 congressional champions joined the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center and health advocacy organizations around the country in commemorating National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The day serves to recognize the thousands of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs) diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and the need for improved awareness, testing and access to care.

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the day, Rep. Bordallo introduced a resolution supporting the goals of National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The resolution calls attention to the fact that AAs and NHPIs, as the fastest growing communities in the nation, are the least likely to be tested for HIV and to know their status. Compared to all other groups, AAs and NHPIs have the highest percentages who have never been tested for HIV, putting themselves and their partners at risk.

Testing and treatment is hindered by barriers including lack of access to culturally and linguistically tailored care and education, along with stigma surrounding this medical condition. The limited data available on AA and NHPI communities shows a concerning trend. From 2010-2011, the number of AAs and NHPIs diagnosed with HIV increased by 20 percent.

“As AA and NHPI communities grow, the need for culturally tailored outreach, education and care has never been greater,” said Ed Tepporn, APIAHF vice president of community strategies. “Today, one in four AAs and NHPIs living with HIV do not know their status. We can change that by employing strategies and programs that work for diverse communities and meet their needs and tackling the stigma that persists in AA and NHPI communities.”

APIAHF has worked for 20 years to address HIV/AIDS in AA and NHPI communities and provides HIV prevention-related capacity building assistance to community-based organizations (CBOs) and health departments across the nation with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn more at www.apiahf.org.