The CDC NPIN Featured Partner resource offers HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STD, and TB prevention-focused organizations a platform to showcase their services, programs, and materials. Our goal is to highlight the work of CDC's prevention partners and encourage partners to connect with each other to share information and strategies. Organizations are nominated by CDC or their peers, or are self-nominated. Those selected are featured on the NPIN Web site for the month.
In 1989, the Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Inc. (APICHA), was founded to respond to the lack of HIV/AIDS services addressing the needs of Asians and Pacific Islanders (APIs) and to confront the silence and denial surrounding HIV/AIDS in API communities. Starting from an all-volunteer grassroots organization, the agency has grown considerably from a fledgling prevention education unit to the only Pan-Asian HIV service provider in the country with a primary care clinic.
APICHA was the first agency in New York City to provide HIV/AIDS services specifically targeting API communities and continues to provide the most and largest range of such services. In addition, they offer a safe and nurturing environment for youth, immigrants, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) individuals.
APICHA’s mission is to combat HIV/AIDS stigma and related discrimination, prevent the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in API communities, and provide care and treatment for APIs living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
Three features define APICHA’s approach to care:
- APICHA strives to be culturally and linguistically competent in every way—to be attuned to the unique characteristics and complex needs of API communities. The New York metropolitan area is home to large and growing API communities. APIs come from more than 20 countries and 49 ethnicities and speak more than 100 languages and dialects. Many immigrants come from regions in Asia and the Pacific Islands where HIV prevention and information may be nonexistent or scarce. APICHA also takes into account culturally specific beliefs, attitudes, and practices that affect access to health care, including HIV services. For example, homosexuality is highly stigmatized, and discussions of illness and death rarely take place.
- APICHA believes in a holistic, person-centered concept of wellness rather than merely focusing on and treating a disease.
- APICHA is also committed to making its services easily and immediately accessible through a one-stop shop approach.
APICHA programs and services include
- Prevention education and risk reduction for men who have sex with men (MSM), young MSM, women, and youth.
- Peer training programs for API youth and immigrant women.
- Comprehensive case management in eight major API languages.
- HIV counseling and testing services.
- HIV primary care.
- Comprehensive screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
- A food pantry and vouchers.
- Nutritional counseling.
- Full-body acupuncture.
- Support groups in several languages.
- Skills-building workshops and sensitivity training for service providers.
With support from a New York State HEAL 6 grant, APICHA now provides primary medical care and sexual health services to APIs who are HIV-negative but at high risk for acquiring HIV.
In 2008, APICHA provided more than 26,500 services to 1,770 clients—61 percent API, 13 percent Hispanic (non-Asian), 13 percent white, 9 percent black/African American, and 4 percent Other (more than one race or unreported). The vast majority (79 percent) of clients were between 20 and 49 years old. 67 percent were male and 33 percent female. APICHA’s staff and peers reached more than 40,000 individuals through street- and venue-based outreach activities.
APICHA has developed several innovative HIV testing campaigns to challenge assumptions about HIV risk in API communities and reach underserved populations.
"TEST ME / for hiv" addresses a major discrepancy and public health problem: very limited access to HIV testing and increasing infection rates in the API communities. The campaign is a coordinated effort to have volunteers visit their doctor's office wearing a tee shirt that reads "TEST ME / for hiv." The action is meant to initiate the conversation and create an opportunity to educate doctors about the discrepancy.
The campaign works with religious and community leaders to expand the discussion about HIV in various API communities. The campaign also disseminates information about the issue and educates the API community with information released in multiple languages.
Another campaign involves a partnership with the New York Taxi Worker's Alliance (NYTWA). Its first phase, HIV Testing Takes Off, combined separate health fairs conducted in 2008 at LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports to provide health care services to taxi workers and their families. Funded by the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute's Communities of Color Initiative, this was APICHA's first experience in conducting testing events in an airport location. While taxi drivers waited in line to be dispatched, there was time to provide health services, including prevention education, HIV testing, and screening for gonorrhea and chlamydia. NYWTA recruited other organizations to provide blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, and specialty screenings such as cardiovascular health, vision, dental, audio, back care/chiropractic health, tuberculosis, and asthma. As many as 800 individuals received safer-sex kits consisting of condoms, personal lubricant, and HIV testing information at both events. Forty-three clients accessed HIV testing, and 15 gonorrhea and chlamydia screenings were provided. The next phase of the APICHA-NYTWA partnership will consist of two events currently scheduled for September 2010.
APICHA has also produced several public service announcements to promote HIV testing and destigmatize gay Asian young MSM.
APICHA offers a number of online resources, including a manual for health care providers entitled "The Role of Culture in HIV/AIDS Health Care," a client navigator guide in eight languages, and a brochure for women available in six languages.
Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Inc.
New York, NY 10013
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