May 19th is the 13th annual National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, originally founded by the Banyan Tree Project with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to end stigma, prevent HIV, and help A&PIs living with HIV. This year’s campaign slogan is “Saving face can’t make you safe. Talk about HIV.”
In 2015, Asian Americans made up for 6% of the U.S. population and comprised 2% of the new HIV diagnoses in the country (CDC). Of Asian Americans with new HIV diagnoses in 2015, 86% were cisgender men and 14% were cisgender women; gay and bisexual men accounted for 89% of HIV diagnoses among all Asian American men (CDC).
Similarly, gay and bisexual men accounted for 78% of new HIV diagnoses among Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders (NHOPI) in 2014. While the overall number of HIV diagnoses among NHOPI declined 22% from 2010 to 2014, NHOPI had the third-highest rate of HIV diagnoses by race/ethnicity in the U.S. (CDC).
Structural barriers to culturally appropriate health care, including lack of language accessibility, remains an important challenge to prevention and treatment. Furthermore, silence and stigma are major factors preventing Asians & Pacific Islanders from accessing HIV testing and treatment. According to the CDC, 66.5% of Asian Americans and 43.1% of NHOPIs have never been tested for HIV, and transgender A&PIs have the lowest rate of ever being tested for HIV out of all racial and ethnic groups (49% compared to 55% for trans communities overall) (CDC). The Clinician Consultation Center supports providers in reducing health disparities by providing clinical advice on prevention, treatment, and adherence. All US-based clinicians are welcome to call our consultation lines to receive expert guidance regarding their specific patients, cases, and management dilemmas.