WASHINGTON — To observe National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (May 17), members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus released the following statements:
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), CAPAC chair: “National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a vital reminder of the health disparities within the Asian American and Pacific Islander community that are often compounded by language and cultural barriers. In recent years, the number of HIV diagnoses increased by 42% for Asian Americans and 51% for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.
“Unfortunately, many AAPIs living with HIV in the United States still do not know they have it. We must continue to raise awareness and ensure more AAPIs get tested as we work towards a cure for this disease.”
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Sacramento), CAPAC Health Task Force co-chair: “As co-chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, I am glad to support an HIV/AIDS awareness day that focuses on the Asian Pacific Islander community. As a doctor, I believe it is imperative that we continue to fund medical research, as we are on the brink of curing this disease. But we also continue to see increases in HIV diagnoses among Asians in the United States, and this awareness day is important to encourage more testing, treatment, and prevention initiatives in Asian American communities.”
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Santa Clara): “The HIV/AIDS epidemic did not discriminate on the basis of race. Far too many in the AAPI community have encountered disparities in the level of care they receive. Today, we remember the many AAPI individuals across this country we have lost to this heartbreaking disease, and continue strong in our fight for a cure.”
Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii): “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Asian Americans have seen a decrease in numbers of HIV infections in part as a result of heightened awareness and prevention. But the same cannot be said of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, who are among the highest estimated rate of total HIV diagnoses in the United States by race or ethnicity. The efforts of programs like the Banyan Tree Project, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are leading the way in countering these trends and making further progress. But we all need to continue to raise awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS, and to help those who are living and coping with the disease.”