May 20, 2013
WASHINGTON—To commemorate National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on May 19, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) released an in-depth report to call attention to the continuing lack of data available on Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) health and highlight promising HIV/AIDS surveillance practices at the local and state levels.
“Having accurate and disaggregated data is essential to helping health advocates, public health researchers, providers and policy makers understand the health and needs of populations like AAs and NHPIs,” said Ed Tepporn, APIAHF vice president of community strategies. “Lack of data on AA and NHPI communities has historically been an issue as data for these communities have often been lumped together into an “other” category or not presented at all, possibly contributing to the misperception that AAs and NHPIs are not affected by HIV/AIDS.”
APIAHF’s report, “Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Data Case Studies,” outlines these data gaps and provides a number of promising practices to improve data collection, reporting, and dissemination efforts. The report is based on a review of HIV/AIDS surveillance reports, epidemiologic profiles and other documents across 50 state health departments and several cities and includes suggestions culled from in-depth interviews with health department staff and community members from New York, Hawaii, and San Francisco—three jurisdictions with significant AA and NHPI populations—as well as six other jurisdictions with significant and/or emerging AA and NHPI populations—Alaska, California, Florida, Los Angeles, Michigan, Minnesota, and Nevada.
Based on the study, some promising practices that would greatly improve HIV/AIDS surveillance for AAs and NHPIs include:
- Applying the Department of Health and Human Services implementation guidance (for surveys) on data collection standards on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status to surveillance efforts
- Reporting disaggregated AA and NHPI ethnic subgroup data
- Collaborating with AA and NHPI-serving community based organizations
- Including detailed AA and NHPI census populations and population growth data in epidemiologic profiles
APIAHF’s report comes at a time when the federal government is implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and working with racial and ethnic communities to lessen the impact HIV/AIDS has on these communities. The Strategy specifically identifies the need for improved HIV/AIDS surveillance efforts to develop a better understanding of the continuing impact of HIV/AIDS on AAs and NHPIs. The Centers for Disease Control recently released its report “Effective HIV Surveillance Among Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders,” which provides recommendations that should be standard practice to improve HIV/AIDS surveillance among AAs and NHPIs.
For more information about the impact of HIV/AIDS among AAs and NHPIs, see APIAHF’s latest infographic here.