The Banyan Tree Project is a national community mobilization and social marketing campaign to end the silence and shame surrounding HIV/AIDS in Asian and Pacific Islander (A&PI) communities. The Banyan Tree Project produces annual anti-HIV stigma messages and materials, the National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and provides Capacity Building Assistance (CBA) to community-based organizations serving A&PIs in the US and six US-affiliated Pacific Island Jurisdictions.


In 2012, we launched a new community-driven, community-owned initiative that puts the power to end HIV stigma back in the hands of the community.

"Taking Root" stories are authentic and personal. They are the storyteller's own work, unfiltered through the lens of directors, producers, or journalists who often have their own agenda. Storytellers are trained to create their own digital stories in intense, three-day workshops facilitated by the Banyan Tree Project and the Center for Digital Storytelling. Our goal is to host digital storytelling workshops in A&PI communities across the country and the six US-affiliated Pacific Island Jurisdictions.

It's been said that it takes a thousand voices to tell a single story. To tell the story of A&PIs and HIV, we need each of you to take part.

We're all living with HIV, whether we have the virus or not.

Listen with compassion. Share the stories with your friends and family.

Start the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #withoutshame.

Watch more stories on the Taking Root Stories page. Want to hold a screening for your community? Download the Taking Root Facilitators Guide. Visit our Resources Page for more to support your screening.

To find out about creating your own Taking Root story or hosting a workshop in your area, contact

Why Taking Root?

It's been said that it takes a thousand voices to tell a single story. "Taking Root" is grounded in the power of the individual story, but its territory extends beyond the individual. We are a multitude of voices: there is no singular Asian American or Pacific Islander experience, and the face of HIV is as diverse as the people affected by it. Through the connections forged by these individual experiences, we are able to tell a story about the ways we are affected by HIV. Together, these stories heal and it is through the telling and witnessing of them that we learn to overcome our silence and shame. As "Taking Root" grows, it will eventually include stories from AA and NHPI communities across the US and the six US-affiliated Pacific Island Jurisdictions.

Center for Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling is a form of short narrative told in the first person and enhanced by sound, video, and symbolic imagery. These are true stories from AAs and NHPIs recounting the ways in which HIV has affected and altered their lives. The stories were developed during an intensive 3-day workshop facilitated by Center for Digital Storytelling where participants were trained to produce their own story, from developing their own narrative and producing a voiceover, to using audiovisual and editing equipment to create the final video.

The videos created during this workshop will be featured here on the Banyan Tree Project web page, and will be available via our YouTube channel and on DVD for screening at National A&PI HIV/AIDS Awareness Day events. If you are interested in receiving a DVD, please email the Banyan Tree Project team.

Saving Face Can't Make You Safe: Talk about HIV—for me, for you, for everyone.

Taking Root takes our campaign to a whole new level, where people are talking about HIV for themselves and for our community as a whole, cutting to the core of what the Banyan Tree Project's slogan is all about.

"Saving face" is a common cultural concept in A&PI communities, where individuals seek to protect the family from perceived public shame or disgrace. In practice, "saving face" contributes to silence about sex, HIV, and safe sex practices. Saving face and stigma also lead to higher rates of HIV infection and a lack of knowledge about one's HIV status:

  • 1 in 3 Asians and Pacific Islanders living with HIV don't know it
  • Over half of Pacific Islanders have never been tested for HIV
  • Over two-thirds of Asians have never been tested for HIV
  • 80% of A&PI women living with HIV got it from sex with a man (heterosexual contact)
  • A&PI women are four times more likely to have an STD than an A&PI man
  • A&PI women had the largest rate of increase in new HIV infections, higher than any other racial/ethnic group

What can you do?

How can you help spread the word?

It's easy! Get ready and set to help spread the word:

  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and share our postings and tweets
  • Embed our videos on your web page, blog, and share them by visiting our YouTube page
  • Download and sign the Banyan Tree Pledge. Make extra copies for your friends to sign!

When you're ready and set, GO!

  • Attend or promote a National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day event. Visit our Event Page for an event in your area.
  • Share our updates from Facebook on your wall and with your friends.
  • Retweet our Twitter feed. Use the hashtag #May19 for any National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day related tweets.
  • Embed or share our PSAs leading up to May 19 on your emails, web site, blogs, Facebook page or Twitter feed.

News and Events

Make your own I'm Talking About HIV sign

Center for Digital Storytelling

CDC Disclaimer: This site contains HIV prevention messages that may not be appropriate for all audiences. If you are not seeking such information or may be offended by such materials, please exit this website.

The Banyan Tree Project is a program of Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center

Our partners are nonprofit and community-based organizations dedicated to providing HIV referrals, education, outreach, advocacy, prevention and care services to A&PI communities.

This web site was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 1U65PS002095-01 from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Taking Root Digital Storytelling Initiative is also supported by the Office of Minority Health Resource Center. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Office of Minority Health Resource Center.