May 19 Marks National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Observance Draws Attention to Diversity of Nationalities, Cultures, Languages and Access to HIV Preventive Care

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 18, 2009)- The fifth annual observance of National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is Tuesday, May 19.

Asian and Pacific Islanders represent about 2.5 percent of HIV cases diagnosed in New York in 2007, and approximately 1,300 are living with HIV/AIDS statewide.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading risk factor for HIV nationally for Asian and Pacific Islanders is male-to-male sexual contact for men and heterosexual contact for women. Asian and Pacific Islanders have higher rates of some preventable diseases associated with HIV, such as tuberculosis and hepatitis.

The State Health Department emphasizes initiatives that tailor HIV prevention programs to the specific needs of Asian and Pacific Islanders in settings that are culturally sensitive and language appropriate. Each year, the State Health Department provides more than $1.2 million to community-based organizations for HIV testing, prevention and supportive services for Asian and Pacific Islanders.

According to U.S. Census estimates, there are more than 1.3 million Asian and Pacific Islanders living in New York, with the majority residing in New York City. Asian and Pacific Islanders comprise over 40 different nationalities that speak over 100 languages and dialects, and are one of the one of the fastest-growing racial/ethnic populations in the state and the nation.