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Pet Sins November 2003

HIV/AIDS among North Americans of color

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about half of all new HIV cases in the US occur among African Americans. AIDS is already the leading cause of death among African Americans aged 24-44. Nearly two thirds of all new HIV cases among under 25-uear-olds now occur among African Americans.[Brother's Keeper, Colors NW Magazine, June 2003]

According to the Latino Commission on AIDS, Latinos comprised only 12.5% of the US population but over 20% of the AIDS cases. In response to this health crisis, Latino American leaders designated October 15 2003 as National Latino AIDS Awareness Day.

The CDC did not did not list American Indians or Asian Americans as separate racial groups for HIV/AIDS reporting until 1988. Since then, the rate of HIV/AIDS infections has increased rapidly in the Native American community, particularly on the reservations and in closed communities. 1,700 out of 2 million Native Americans were infected with HIV by 1998.

While skyrocketing HIV infection rates have pushed African-American and Latino communities to demand culturally appropriate education, Asian-Americans have yet to secure significant public funding or attention to address the spread of HIV in their communities. [The 'Other' Epidemic: AIDS Among Asian-Americans, Body Positive June 1999]

July 2002 Asian Fortune article Asian Americans Get Inferior Health Care, Says US Congress Report highlights the healthcare inequities that affect all minorities in the US:

In the treatment of HIV infections that lead to AIDS, minorities, including Asian Americans, are "less likely than non-minorities to receive antiretroviral therapy, prophylaxis for pneumocystis pneumonia and protease inhibitors." These disparities continue in the quality of HIV care and are associated with "poorer survival rates among minorities, even at equivalent levels of access to care."

HIV/AIDS Resources for North Americans of Color

Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention - ASAP is a Toronto based AIDS service organization. It was founded in 1989 as a community response to a request for support for a South Asian couple infected with HIV/AIDS who died in isolation, unable to access services in their own language. Their catchment area is greater Toronto and all the surrounding suburbs/towns.

HIV Insite's Link List of indigenous North American HIV/AIDS organizations - includes US and Canadian resources

National Library of Medicine HIV/AIDS Minority resource link list - Asian American, African American, Latino American and Native American