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PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
May 10, 2011

 

CONTACT:
Stephanie Goss / (415) 292-3420 x 330
David Stupplebeen / (415) 292-3420 x 361


UNPRECEDENTED RISE IN HIV INFECTIONS AMONG ASIAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER WOMEN

A&PI Wellness Center, NAPAWF spotlight women on National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

San Francisco, CA -- On Tuesday, May 17th, 2011 Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center and National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF) will host a press conference spotlighting the alarming growth in new HIV infections among Asian and Pacific Islander (A&PI) women. The press conference, commemorating the 7th annual National A&PI HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, features a panel discussion with personal stories from women living with HIV and the presentation of new HIV and STD data trends affecting A&PI women.

While HIV is still seen as a men's issue, the disease continues to rise unchecked among A&PIs and A&PI women in particular. Recent analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that A&PIs have the highest rate of increase in new HIV infections in the nation, the only statistically significant growth among any racial or ethnic group, and yet two-thirds of A&PIs have never been tested for HIV. The rate of increase for A&PI women is actually higher than that of A&PI men, but the misconception that A&PIs are not at risk for HIV persists--even among healthcare providers who discourage A&PIs from getting tested. In fact, a recent study by Dr. Hahm indicates that A&PI women are less likely than other ethnic groups to be offered an HIV test in OB/GYN settings.

A number of factors contribute to the HIV risk for A&PI women, including a lack of targeted HIV prevention information for women, unequal power dynamics in sexual relationships, biological differences and the fact that a woman's HIV risk is often indirect. A woman's HIV risk is her partner's HIV risk and many women in monogamous relationships are shocked when they test positive. Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of A&PI women living with HIV got it through heterosexual contact (86%).

"By 2050, A&PIs will represent about 11% of the US population," says Lance Toma, executive director of A&PI Wellness Center. "We could be facing a public health disaster if we fail to address the rise in HIV and STD infections in our communities now."

Panelists include Dr. Hyeouk Chris Hahm, a leading researcher on A&PI women's sexual health from Boston University; Naina Khanna, a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) and a woman living with HIV; and Jaimie Callahan, an HIV community advocate from Hawai'i, who is also living with HIV. The panel will be moderated by Priyanka Singha, the 2009-2010 Miss India USA and co-host of the popular Sony Entertainment Television talk show, Andaaz.

The press conference will take place at 10:00 am on Tuesday, May 17th at the San Francisco Public Library's Koret Auditorium (100 Larkin Street, San Francisco). For more information about the event, please contact David Stupplebeen at 415-292-3420 ext. 361 or das@apiwellness.org. Speakers will be available for comment after the press conference.

About Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center (A&PI Wellness Center)
A&PI Wellness Center is a health services, education, research and policy organization dedicated to educating, supporting, empowering and advocating for Asian and Pacific Islander communities -- particularly A&PIs living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS. With staff fluent in 20 languages, A&PI Wellness Center delivers programs regionally, statewide, and nationally, and collaborates with community-based organizations throughout the Asia Pacific Region. For press materials or more information please visit www.apiwellness.org.

About National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF)
NAPAWF is the only national, multi-issue Asian and Pacific Islander (A&PI) women's organization in the country. NAPAWF's mission is to build a movement to advance social justice and human rights for A&PI women and girls.

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