|Statement of Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director,
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on National
Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, May 19, 2008
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has emerged to clearly threaten the public
health of Asians and Pacific Islanders living in the United States
and its territories. Today, on National Asian and Pacific Islander
HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we recognize the imperative to mobilize
preventive and therapeutic services to protect this multifaceted
community from the scourge of HIV/AIDS.
The incidence of AIDS is on the rise among Asians and Pacific
Islanders. The estimated number of AIDS cases in this population
grew from 3,574 in 2002 to 4,526 in 2006, and Asians and Pacific
Islanders were the only U.S. ethnic or racial group for which the
annual number of reported AIDS deaths rose during that period.1,2,3,4,5 Moreover,
between 2001 and 2004, the estimated annual percentage change in
the number of HIV/AIDS cases in this population — 8.1 percent
for men and 14.3 percent for women — was higher than in any
other U.S. ethnic or racial group.6 The
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID),
part of the National Institutes of Health, joins with Asians and
Pacific Islanders in mourning the members of this community who
have died from AIDS and in commending those who provide HIV/AIDS
prevention services and who care for people living with HIV.
Asians and Pacific Islanders become infected with HIV most often
though unprotected sex with an HIV-infected male partner, and many
of these partners do not know they are infected. It is therefore
critical that Asians and Pacific Islanders get tested for HIV,
learn the HIV status of their sexual partners and practice safer
Unfortunately, Asians and Pacific Islanders get tested for HIV
at lower rates than other U.S. populations, despite a comparable
risk of HIV infection.7 The stigma
often associated with HIV/AIDS may discourage many Asians and Pacific
Islanders from getting tested and from seeking counseling and treatment,
placing them at risk for developing AIDS and further spreading
HIV. NIAID applauds those who are fighting this stigma and strongly
endorses testing for HIV during routine medical care for adolescents,
adults and pregnant women, as recommended by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.8
Language and culture may present barriers to delivering HIV/AIDS
education, testing and care to some Asian and Pacific Islanders.
This population comprises at least 49 different ethnic groups and
more than 100 languages and dialects.9 We
as a nation must develop culturally and linguistically appropriate
HIV/AIDS resources for Asians and Pacific Islanders.
On this commemorative day, we thank those who provide HIV/AIDS
prevention and treatment to Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
We also thank the Asians and Pacific Islanders who have volunteered
for clinical trials to develop and test HIV/AIDS prevention and
treatment methods, and we urge even more members of this community
to participate in such research. Finally, we encourage Asians and
Pacific Islanders — and, indeed, all communities — to
fight the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and to champion HIV testing
as part of routine medical care.
Information about National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS
Awareness Day is available at http://www.hhs.gov/aidsawarenessdays/days/asian/index.html.
Information about HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and clinical trials
is available at http://www.aidsinfo.nih.gov/.
Dr. Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda,
Media inquiries can be directed to the NIAID Office of Communications
at 301-402-1663, firstname.lastname@example.org.
NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health. NIAID
supports basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat
infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted
infections, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria and illness from potential
agents of bioterrorism. NIAID also supports research on basic immunology,
transplantation and immune-related disorders, including autoimmune
diseases, asthma and allergies. Press releases, fact sheets and
other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2008.
HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2006, Vol. 18. Atlanta: U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services, CDC: 17, 23, 40, 42, 44, 46.
2. CDC. 2007. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2005, Vol.
17. Rev. ed. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
3. CDC. 2006. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2004, Vol.
16. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC:
4. CDC. 2005. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2003, Vol.
15. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC:
5. CDC. 2004. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2002, Vol.
14. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC:
6. CDC. 2006. Racial/Ethnic disparities in diagnoses of
HIV/AIDS33 states, 20012004. MMWR 55(5):122.
7. Zaidi IF, et al. 2005. Epidemiology of HIV/AIDS among
Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. AIDS Education
and Prevention 17(5):405417.
8. CDC. 2006. Revised recommendations for HIV Testing of
adults, adolescents, and pregnant women in health-care settings.
9. Ghosh C. 2003. Healthy People 2010 and Asian Americans/Pacific
Islanders: Defining a baseline of information. American Journal
of Public Health 93(12):20932098.