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Asian and Pacific Islander HIV Awareness

Man smilingMay 19 is National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. It is a day to break the silence about HIV and AIDS in Asian and Pacific Islander communities and encourage individuals to get tested for HIV.

Asians and Pacific Islanders comprise a small percentage of all HIV infections in the United States. Asians accounted for 2% (950) of the estimated 47,500 new HIV infections in the United States in 2010. This represented an almost 20% decrease in the rate of estimated new infections since 2007 (10.4 per 100,000 people to 8.4 per 100,000 people).

Among Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders (NHOPI), this population accounted for less than 1 percent (70) of the estimated new HIV infections in the United States in 2010. However, in 2013 NHOPI had the fourth highest estimated rate of total HIV diagnoses (12.7 per 100,000 people) in the United States by race/ethnicity.

To raise awareness about the impact of HIV on these populations, National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is observed nationwide on May 19. The theme for 2015 is "Saving face can't make you safe. Talk about HIV—for me, for you, for everyone." This observance day was founded by the Banyan Tree Project, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to end the silence and shame surrounding HIV and AIDS in Asian and Pacific Islander communities, help prevent HIV, and help those who are living with this disease . True stories of courage and compassion about people in the community who are living with HIV and empowered themselves by sharing their experiences are available on the Banyan Tree website.

The Banyan Tree Project is sponsored by the San Francisco-based Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center,  in collaboration with partner organizations in Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.

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