Washington, DC – Sunday, May 19 is the ninth annual National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NAPIHAAD). It is also National Hepatitis Testing Day. Given the heavy toll both epidemics have had and continue to have on America’s Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities, it is fitting that these awareness campaigns will take place on the same day.
“While APIs have the lowest recorded HIV infection rate of any racial/ethnic group, they also have some of the lowest HIV testing rates,” said National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) Executive Director Paul Kawata. “An estimated two-thirds of all APIs in the U.S. have never been tested for HIV and one of every three APIs living with HIV in the U.S. is unaware of their status. At the same time, APIs bear a disproportionately heavy burden of Hepatitis B, a common co-infection with HIV. While they make up less than 5 percent of the U.S. population, APIs account for more than half of all Americans living with Hepatitis B.”
“As a Japanese-American, I understand the extent to which HIV stigma impacts the API community,” continued Kawata. “This stigma is so powerful that people often avoid talking about sex or HIV entirely. This silence serves to feed fear and misperceptions about how HIV is transmitted. For many APIs, an HIV-positive test result is seen as something that can shame not only the individual, but his or her family and community as well. We must do more to combat these perceptions. NMAC is proud to stand with its API brothers and sisters in the fight against the twin epidemics of HIV and viral hepatitis. We encourage all APIs to get tested, know their status and take steps to protect themselves.”
Contact: Kyle Murphy, (202) 483-6622, ex. 3330, firstname.lastname@example.org