HIV and Asians
Between 2010 and 2016 the Asian populationa in the United States grew around 17%, four times as fast as the total US population.b During the same period, in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the number of Asians receiving an HIV diagnosis increased by 42%, driven primarily by an increase in HIV diagnoses among Asian gay and bisexual men.c Asians, who make up 6% of the population, accounted for about 2% of HIV diagnoses in 2017 in the United States and dependent areas.d
Source: CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2017. HIV Surveillance Report 2018;29.
From 2010 to 2016, annual HIV diagnoses in the 50 states and the District of Columbia increased by 52% among Asian gay and bisexual men.f
Living With HIV and Deaths
During 2016, there were 95 deaths among Asians with diagnosed HIV in the US and dependent areas. These deaths may be due to any cause.
There are some behaviors that put everyone at risk for HIV. These include having anal or vaginal sex without protection (like a condom or medicine to prevent or treat HIV) or sharing injection drug equipment with someone who has HIV. Other factors that affect Asians particularly include:
- Undiagnosed HIV. People with undiagnosed HIV cannot obtain the care they need to stay healthy and may unknowingly transmit HIV to others. A lower percentage of Asians with HIV have received a diagnosis, compared to other races/ethnicities.
- Cultural factors. Some Asians may avoid seeking testing, counseling, or treatment because of language barriers or fear of discrimination, the stigma of homosexuality, immigration issues, or fear of bringing shame to their families.
- Limited research. Limited research about Asian health and HIV infection means there are few targeted prevention programs and behavioral interventions for this population.
- Data limitations. The reported number of HIV cases among Asians may not reflect the true HIV diagnoses in this population because of race/ethnicity misidentification. This could lead to the underestimation of HIV infection in this population.
What CDC Is Doing
CDC and its partners are pursuing a high-impact prevention approach to maximize the effectiveness of current HIV prevention interventions and strategies and improve surveillance among Asians. Funding state, territorial, and local health departments is CDC’s largest investment in HIV prevention.
- Under the new integrated HIV surveillance and prevention cooperative agreement, CDC awarded around $400 million per year to health departments for surveillance and prevention efforts. This award directs resources to the populations and geographic areas of greatest need, while supporting core HIV surveillance and prevention efforts across the United States.
- In 2019, CDC awarded a new cooperative agreement to strengthen the capacity and improve the performance of the nation’s HIV prevention workforce. New elements include dedicated providers for web-based and classroom-based national training, and technical assistance tailored within four geographic regions. The Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum is funded under this effort.
- Under the flagship community-based organization cooperative agreement, CDC awarded about $42 million per year to community organizations. This award directs resources to support the delivery of effective HIV prevention strategies to people at greatest risk. Special Service for Groups/APAIT is funded under this effort.
- The CDC publication, Effective HIV Surveillance Among Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, provides recommendations for improving HIV surveillance activities for health departments in states with high concentrations of Asians and NHOPIs. CDC continues to collect and report data for Asian and NHOPI populations separately in annual, supplemental, and special surveillance reports and annual program monitoring reports.
- Through its Let’s Stop HIV Together (formerly Act Against AIDS) campaigns and partnerships, CDC provides Asians with effective and culturally appropriate messages aimed at stopping HIV stigma and promoting HIV testing, prevention, and treatment. The stigma materials include stories and issues relevant to Asians, as do the following:
- Doing It encourages all people to know their HIV status and protect themselves and their community by making HIV testing a part of their regular health routine.
- Start Talking. Stop HIV. helps gay and bisexual men communicate about testing and a range of HIV prevention strategies.
- HIV Treatment Works shows how people living with HIV have overcome barriers to stay in care and provides resources on how to live well with HIV.
- Partnering and Communicating Together (PACT) to Act Against AIDS is raising awareness about testing, prevention, and retention in care among populations disproportionately affected by HIV, including Asians.
a A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.
b The US Census Bureau’s population estimates include the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
c Male-to-male sexual contact is the term used in CDC surveillance systems. It indicates a behavior that transmits HIV infection, not how individuals self-identify in terms of their sexuality. This fact sheet uses the term gay and bisexual men.
d American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the US Virgin Islands.
e Diagnoses includes the number of people receiving an HIV diagnosis each year (regardless of the year they were infected).
f Includes infections attributed to male-to-male sexual contact and injection drug use (men who reported both risk factors).
- CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2017. HIV Surveillance Report 2018;29. Accessed March 8, 2019.
- CDC. Monitoring selected national HIV prevention and care objectives by using HIV surveillance data—United States and 6 dependent areas—2016. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2016;23(4). Accessed March 8, 2019.
- CDC. Estimated HIV incidence and prevalence in the United States 2010–2016. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report. 2018;24. Accessed March 8, 2019.
- CDC. Selected national HIV prevention and care outcomes [slide set]. Accessed March 8, 2019.
- CDC. High-Impact HIV prevention: CDC’s approach to reducing HIV infections in the United States. Accessed March 8, 2019.
- CDC. NCHHSTP atlas plus. Accessed March 8, 2019.
- CDC. Effective HIV surveillance among Asian Americans and other Pacific Islanders. Accessed March 8, 2019.
- Hahm HC, Lee J, Rough K, Strathdee SA. Gender power control, sexual experiences, safer sex practices, and potential HIV risk behaviors among Asian-American women. AIDS Behav 2012;16(1):179-88.
- Russ LW, Meyer AC, Takahashi LM, et al. Examining barriers to care: provider and client perspectives on the stigmatization of HIV-positive Asian-Americans with or without viral hepatitis co-infection. AIDS Care 2012;24(10):1302-7.
- US Census Bureau. QuickFacts: United States. Accessed March 8, 2019.
- Page last reviewed: September 9, 2019
- Page last updated: September 9, 2019
- Content source: Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention