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May 19: Nat'l Asian/PI HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
2006-05-01

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National Asian/Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day will take place May 19 across the nation. The day's organizers hope that it is a day where love and compassion reign.

This awareness day is a part of the Banyan Tree Project ( BTP ) , a multi-year program to promote acceptance and fight HIV-related discrimination and stigma among API communities in the U.S. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, BTP is inspired by similar HIV/AIDS initiatives in the Black and Hispanic communities, which also have awareness days to raise awareness of the disease and its impact.

Karl Kimpo, a gay-identified Filipino with the Asian Health Coalition of Illinois ( AHCI ) , feels that the need for increased acceptance and reduced HIV stigma in the Asian/Pacific Islander community is long overdue: 'The A/PI community is comparably behind as opposed to other ethnic communities around HIV issues. We hope that [ this day ] sheds light on issues that have largely remained invisible in the API community and HIV community as well.'

Moreover, according to AHCI Executive Director Hong Liu, Ph.D., 'Coupled with the fact that Asian/Pacific Islanders are disproportionately infected by Hepatitis when compared to other communities, A/PIs living with HIV are at increased risk for HIV/hepatitis co-infection as compared to other ethnicities.'

For more information on the May 19 event at the Chinese American Service League, 2141 S. Tan Court, or to RSVP, contact Kimpo at ( 773 ) 878-0761 ( karl@asianhealth.org ) or Dr. Hong Liu at 773-878-8969 ( hong@asianhealth.org ) .

Meanwhile, in honor of Asian Heritage Month in May, Asian Human Services presents the Banyan Tree Essay Contest. The essay should relate to the experiences, strengths and aspirations of a gay Asian or Pacific Islander. The deadline for submission is 5:00 p.m.on May 6. The final selection will be announced May 19 with the awards being presented to the winners that day at 4753 N. Broadway from 4-6 p.m. The winning essays will be read aloud at this event; first, second and third places will win $200, $100 and $50, respectively.

Submit items to Tess Munro at tmunro@ahschicago.org or to Asian Human Services, 4753 N. Broadway, Suite 700, Chicago, IL 60640.


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