Perspectives: API Issue
The Asian American population grew 43 percent between 2000 and 2010, more than four times as fast as the total U.S. population, and Asian Americans have recently surpassed Latinos for numbers of new American immigrants.1,2 Despite this considerable growth, the overall number of HIV infections among Asian Americans has remained stable (about 2 percent of all infections), and the rate of new infections has actually decreased, falling from 10.4 per 100,000 people in 2007 to 8.4 per 100,000 people by 2010.
Nevertheless, when it comes to HIV and hepatitis, many Asian American communities continue to face significant challenges. It is particularly crucial for HIV test counselors in California to understand these challenges: Although Asian and Pacific Islander individuals make up only 5 percent of the U.S. population, in California, they represent 16 percent; and California has been home to more API people living with HIV than any other state. This issue of Perspectives will examine these challenges: HIV- and hepatitis-related health disparities within Asian American communities and between Asian Americans and non-Asian Americans; and barriers to testing and treatment for Asian Americans, including stigma, which contributes to low testing rates. We will consider how national and community efforts are being mobilized to respond to these challenges, and conclude by sharing ways that HIV/HCV test counselors can support the health of Asian American testing clients.