Until recently HIV surveillance among Asian immigrants was inconsistent or completely uncollected, and for many years the disease received little attention in this ethnic community. However, in 2007, CDC reported that Asians were the only racial/ethnic group in the U.S. to experience statistically significant increases in HIV/AIDS diagnosis rates. A particular concern which may be a contributing factor is the low rates of HIV/AIDS testing amongst Asian Americans.
Asian Americans are generally ignored in current HIV/AIDS prevention efforts because the overall numbers of HIV/AIDS infections are low. Furthermore few studies distinguish between Asian Americans and the “Other” racial category, leading to a lack of statistical data about the prevalence in the community. Because of the marginalization of Asian Americans in the HIV/AIDS debate, little funding has gone to HIV/AIDS prevention programs that focus on the Asian American community.
A multitude of reports urge the development of culturally sensitive HIV prevention programs for communities of color (NIH Consensus Panel, 1997); however, there has only been one controlled study to date examining the efficacy of an HIV prevention program for an AAPI population in the United States (Choi et al., 1996). The need to develop and test culturally specific programs for these populations is urgent.AHC has developed culturally tailored HIV awareness campaigns for the AAPI communities in the Chicago metropolitan area through its Fight Ignorance Campaign working with front-line anchor staff at Asian Community-Based Organization (CBOs) and continues to In addition AHC also has a long history with HIV capacity building assistance through its previous national collaboration with the Asia Pacific islander Wellness Center and Asian & Pacific Islander Health Forum on the Banyan Tree Project from 2003-2009. The Banyan Tree Project is a nationally funded initiative to provide capacity building assistance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under Funding Opportunity Announcement 09-906. It is a national campaign to end the silence and shame surrounding HIV/AIDS in Asian communities and produces an annual social marketing campaign, the National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and capacity building assistance programs, targeting community-based organizations serving Asians.
AHC was the Midwest regional partner for the Banyan Tree project and provided capacity building assistance for community agencies to improve their HIV program’s ability to achieve their mission and goals more effectively. The activities covered during AHC’s 6-year participation in the project included the following:
• providing HIV prevention community development and technical assistance services for Midwest community organizations through trainings, individual technical consultations, referrals and resource development and dissemination
• providing HIV prevention technical assistance services for strengthening adaptation, diffusion, implementation and evaluation of effective HIV prevention interventions serving high-risk and people living with HIV in A&PI communities in the Midwest region