May 19, 2015

WASHINGTON – The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) released the following statement in recognition of National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and applauding a resolution that will be introduced today by Rep. Madeleine Z. Bordallo (Guam) that underscores the impact that HIV/AIDS has on these communities.

“We are thankful for Congresswoman Bordallo’s continued leadership to bring the health needs of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders to the forefront,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “Often, these communities are overlooked and under-prioritized at the national, state, and local levels despite being the fastest growing minority groups in the U.S. and experiencing continued increases in HIV incidence rates. It is crucial to have the data and appropriate services to help AA and NHPI communities better understand and prevent further HIV infections.”

APIAHF Executive Vice President Edward Tepporn noted, “National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day provides us all a reminder to honor the memory of AAs and NHPIs who have passed from this disease as well as to continue to support those who are living with HIV/AIDS.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent HIV/AIDS surveillance report, 1,040 AAs and NHPIs were diagnosed with HIV in 2013. AAs and NHPIs have some of the lowest testing rates and only one in five AAs and NHPIs living with HIV are aware of their status, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These communities face considerable barriers to testing and care, ranging from language barriers, stigma about HIV/AIDS generally and stigma focused on men who have sex with men, as well as challenges accessing culturally accessible care and knowledge about these conditions.

APIAHF has been a leader in raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and its impact on AA and NHPI communities, including building the capacity of community based organizations and health departments to support prevention and care efforts for over 23 years. To learn more, visit APIAHF’s Capacity for Health site.