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Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
2005-05-01

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The Asian Health Coalition of Illinois, on behalf of The Banyan Tree Project, has claimed May 19, 2005 as the first national Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. To commemorate this historic event, which is officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the Asian Health Coalition of Illinois ( AHCI ) will hold a special May 19 reception at the Jane Addams Hull House Center, 1136 W. Wilson, 6-8 p.m. The free reception is open to the public and the media, and will feature a 7 p.m. presentation. Similar launch events will be held in five other cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Honolulu and Boston. The month of May is also Asian & Pacific American Heritage Month, and May 19 serves to underscore the importance of HIV health issues.

The Banyan Tree Project is a groundbreaking national campaign to foster acceptance and compassion towards those at risk or infected with HIV/AIDS in Asian and Pacific Islander ( A&PI ) communities.

According to Asian Health Coalition of Illinois ( AHCI ) Project Coordinator Karl Kimpo, the culture of silence and saving face that shrouds topics such as sexuality and safer sex in A&PI populations makes it particularly difficult to overcome the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS.

Kimpo states, 'Imagine being a gay or lesbian in this society and all terms used to identify you in your parents' language are derogatory or they don't even exist. Subtle cultural messages like this inform one's self-worth from childhood and can have lasting negative effects on decisions made around safer sex and behavior change.'

Contact Karl Kimpo at ( 773 ) 878-0761 or karl@asianhealth.org .


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