May 19 is National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
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. 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. This year’s theme is “Love & Solidarity: Together PrEP, Testing and Treatment can end HIV.”
According to the CDC, 66.5% of Asian Americans and 43.1% of Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders have never been tested for HIV.
Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders (NHOPI) make up 0.2% of the U.S. population and account for a very small percentage of new HIV diagnoses in the United States—less than 1% in 2016. However, HIV affects NHOPI in ways that are not always apparent.
Gay and bisexual men accounted for 65% (35) of HIV diagnoses among NHOPI in 2016, and HIV diagnoses increased 51% (from 55 to 83) among NHOPI overall from 2011 to 2015 in the United States and six dependent areas. In 2015, an estimated 1,100 NHOPI were living with HIV; 82% had received a diagnosis, and, as of 2014, 60% received HIV medical care, 43% were retained in care, and 50% had a suppressed viral load.
Asians, who make up 6% of the U.S. population, accounted for 2% (970) of the 40,324 new HIV diagnoses in this country and six dependent areas in 2016. Of Asians who received an HIV diagnosis in 2016, 84% (825) were men and 15% (145) were women; gay and bisexual men accounted for 90% (740) of HIV diagnoses among all Asian men. In 2015, an estimated 15,800 Asians were living with HIV in the U.S.; 80% had received a diagnosis, and, as of 2014, 57% received HIV medical care, 46% were retained in care, and 51% had a suppressed viral load.
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. http://banyantreeproject.org/