Groups Nationwide Mark First Annual National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Groups nationwide on Thursday marked the first annual National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which was launched by the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center in San Francisco to bring awareness and acceptance to HIV-positive people in those communities, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The center also has begun a television and bus shelter advertising campaign in the Chinese-American community in San Francisco and an online petition against HIV/AIDS discrimination at banyantreeproject.org. Events marking the day are planned in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Honolulu and Washington, D.C. (Hua, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/19). "The key message we want to communicate is that families play an important role in stopping silence and shame around HIV/AIDS in A&PI communities," Wellness Center Executive Director John Manzon-Santos said, adding, "Our cultures too often value silence and saving face at all costs. We need to give ourselves and our families the permission to openly discuss topics that affect all of our families -- sex, sexuality, drug use and life-threatening illnesses like HIV" (Wellness Center release, 5/12). "Like many other minorities, APIs may face cultural, economic, and language barriers that make HIV prevention, care and treatment efforts more difficult," HHS Deputy Surgeon-General Kenneth Moritsugu said, adding, "API HIV/AIDS Awareness Day challenges us to eliminate these barriers" (HHS release, 5/13). Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, urged Asians and Pacific Islanders to participate in HIV/AIDS clinical trials "so that we can learn if drug regimens or vaccine candidates work in these populations" (NIH release, 5/17). The number of HIV/AIDS cases detected among Asians and Pacific Islanders nationwide increased 34% from 1999 to 2003, according to the center (Wellness Center release, 5/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.