As we observe Nationwide Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Consciousness Day (NAPIHAAD) every year on Might 19, we’re seeing that it’s potential to finish the HIV epidemic. That’s why it’s much more important now that we ensure that we’re entrance and heart in all efforts equivalent to biomedical advances, guaranteeing that therapy is available, and guaranteeing that PrEP entry is a precedence.
Initially led by the San Francisco Neighborhood Well being Middle (SFCHC), NAPIHAAD can also be about consciousness, training, and combatting stigma. In our communities, there’s nonetheless HIV-related stigma and stigma round psychological well being and substance use issues. We should deal with that if we’re going to make sure that the Asian & Pacific Islander (API) communities get the care and companies they want and deserve.
We deal with stigma by having our group members speak about their wrestle with stigma and the way that has sophisticated their journey with respect to being transgender, homosexual, or HIV constructive. In 2005, SFCHC helped launch the Banyan Tree Undertaking funded by the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. We proceed to gather digital tales for that library and assets, together with new tales about PrEP entry and dwelling with HIV throughout Covid.
The Energy of Neighborhood
What I noticed the previous couple of years throughout Covid—and what broke my coronary heart—is that in API communities, and in lots of communities broadly, we misplaced lives. It wasn’t as a result of we weren’t caring for their HIV; it was due to their isolation or as a result of psychological sickness or substance use elevated. That had extreme ramifications.
Neighborhood help is so vital. I do know very personally what it means to really feel disgrace round my queerness, and I had such concern about HIV after I was popping out. Once I began studying extra and speaking about it and felt okay speaking about it with family and friends is after I felt like I used to be capable of care for my well being higher. I felt stronger and I felt like I used to be tapping into not simply my energy, however the energy and love of my group. That is one thing we nonetheless have to work on as a group. It’s so vital for me that I play as lively of a task in my API group and the broader queer group.
Right here at San Francisco Neighborhood Well being Middle, we plan to broaden our HIV prevention programming for the API communities within the metropolis over the subsequent 12 months. We’re enthusiastic about making a extra built-in, holistic method to HIV prevention. Along with Alliance Well being Undertaking, a part of the College of California, San Francisco, we are going to launch new and extra revolutionary programming to make sure that the API communities are totally and meaningfully concerned in ending the epidemic. `
We even have a robust partnership with the Latino Fee on AIDS and the Black AIDS Institute. We now have been working tirelessly collectively to deal with the HIV epidemic throughout communities of coloration. There are such a lot of overlaps with respect to racism and discrimination, and the actual homophobia and transphobia that we see in our communities. We name our partnership Stronger Collectively, and it’s precisely that. We’re stronger collectively. What we’ve realized by these a long time of addressing and confronting HIV in our communities is that we should be linked, and communities of coloration have to work in partnership collectively. That actually has allowed us to see the advances—after we’re working and combating collectively on behalf of all folks of coloration communities.