May 19 Marks National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
ALBANY, N.Y. (May 17, 2013) - The ninth annual observance of National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is Sunday, May 19-- a time to bring attention to the toll the epidemic has taken on Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
HIV/AIDS is a critical and continuing health issue among Asian and Pacific Islander populations in New York State. As of 2011, 1,678 Asian and Pacific Islanders were living with HIV/AIDS in New York State, with the majority living in New York City (1,511). From January through December 2011, 90 Asian and Pacific Islanders were newly diagnosed with HIV; 75 of those cases were in New York City and 15 were diagnosed in the rest of New York State. For the same time period, 47 Asian and Pacific Islanders were newly diagnosed with AIDS, with 35 cases diagnosed in New York City and 12 in the rest of New York State.
The purpose of National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is to encourage Asian and Pacific Islander communities to openly discuss the impact of HIV/AIDS on their communities; educate themselves and their communities on prevention strategies and methods of transmission; decrease stigma associated with HIV/AIDS; get tested and encourage others to get tested.
"HIV/AIDS represents a significant health threat to Asian and Pacific Islander communities in New York State and we're committed to addressing this threat." said State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H. "Each year, the New York State Department of Health provides resources to Asian and Pacific Islander organizations for HIV testing, prevention and supportive services in their communities."
"We have strong and longstanding relationships with providers in Asian and Pacific Islander communities that have been successful in identifying infected persons and linking them to care," said Dan O'Connell, Acting Director of the New York State Department of Health's AIDS Institute. "This sends a strong message across New York State that Asian and Pacific Islander communities are not only reserving May 19 to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS in their communities, but are doing so throughout the year."
The Health Department has a toll-free confidential AIDS Hotline at 1-800-541-AIDS, where individuals can call to learn more about HIV and get information about free HIV testing opportunities in their communities. The HIV/AIDS specific website for DOH can be accessed at: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/aids/.