CAPAC Members Observe National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

May 19, 2021 Issues: Healthcare

Washington, D.C. – Today is National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which is observed annually on May 19th to break the silence and end the stigma around HIV and AIDS in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. To commemorate the day, Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements:

CAPAC Leadership

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“As we observe National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, it is critical that we work together to address stigma and disparities surrounding HIV/AIDS in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. For far too long, cultural and linguistic barriers have forced many AAPIs to suffer in silence rather than seek life-saving treatment. According to the CDC, only 28% of Asian Americans and 43% of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have reported ever being tested for their HIV status. In fact, AAPIs have some of the lowest rates of PrEP utilization and testing compared to other racial and ethnic groups. As we work to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, we must come together to destigmatize the disease, encourage people to seek treatment, and ensure AAPIs are not left behind in our efforts to achieve an AIDS-free generation.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC First Vice Chair:

“National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day reminds us of the importance of fighting the stigma and health disparities that disproportionately impact AAPIs living with HIV/AIDS. AAPIs have the longest delay in HIV diagnoses compared to other racial and ethnic groups. This is unacceptable. We must work to overcome the social stigmas and systemic barriers, like language access, that prevent AAPIs from seeking diagnoses and treatment for HIV/AIDS. On this national day of awareness, we stand together in our fight to ensure our community receives the health care they deserve.”

Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), CAPAC Second Vice Chair:

“National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a time to reflect on the lives we’ve lost due to HIV/AIDS in the AAPI community and an opportunity to raise awareness about the resources available to help detect and treat this disease. In Congress, I will continue working to ensure that healthcare and treatments are more accessible to those living with HIV/AIDS.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip:

“On National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we renew our commitment to building a more equitable and culturally accessible health care system for all, no matter a person's background or sexual orientation. For too long, language barriers and stigma around HIV/AIDS have held AAPI individuals back from receiving life-saving medical diagnoses and care. We must work to end this culture of silence and encourage greater HIV/AIDS services, prevention, testing, and treatment for AAPIs and all underserved communities.”

CAPAC Executive Board Members

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), CAPAC Health Taskforce Co-Chair & Co-Chair of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus:

“As we face a global health crisis, it’s more important than ever that we invest in culturally and linguistically-appropriate HIV/AIDS testing, care, and education for the Asian and Pacific Islander community, which has been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic and the legacy of systemic racism in our public health system. National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is an opportunity to recommit to this critical work. As CAPAC's Health Task Force co-chair, I am proud to continue working with my colleagues to ensure that every community is included in the fight for an AIDS-free generation.”

Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10):

“In order to beat HIV/AIDS, we must ensure that we battle this public health crisis from all angles. National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a stark reminder of the importance of making investments into minority communities to ensure that we can all have the chance to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.”

CAPAC Associate Board Members

Congressman Pete Aguilar (CA-31):

“Today, we rededicate ourselves to ending the cultural stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS within the AAPI community and within American culture more broadly. By raising awareness and increasing access to care and treatment for all members of our community, we can beat this epidemic. I look forward to working with my CAPAC colleagues to ensure that no community is left behind in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04):

“National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is an opportunity to remember that HIV/AIDS can affect all Americans, regardless of race, gender, or identity. We must continue to break down the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, promote testing, prevention, and treatment, and ensure that language or cultural barriers are not preventing AAPI communities from receiving the care they need. As we continue this important work, I’m glad to stand alongside my colleagues in the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) to promote health equity and progress for all.”

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12):

“This National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, I’m recommitting to the goal of shattering the silence and cultural stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS within the AAPI community. HIV/AIDS does not discriminate on the basis of race, and far too many of our AAPI neighbors encounter disparities in the level of care they receive every day. I honor the many individuals across the country who we have lost to this heartbreaking disease.”