July 5th, 2016

The Honorable Roy Blunt
Senate Chairman
260 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Patty Murray
Ranking Member
154 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Tom Cole
House Chairman
2467 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro
House Ranking Member
2413 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

RE: Funding for HIV/AIDS in the Pacific Islands

Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies,

As the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies reviews the various needs for public health funding for the 2017 fiscal year, we urge you to consider the tremendous impact of HIV/AIDS funding on Pacific Islanders.  In particular, funding for the Office of Minority Health and its efforts to address HIV/AIDS in the Pacific Islands – including Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and Northern Mariana Islands – should be a priority.

HIV/AIDS has had a devastating impact on Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans.  Preventative care and treatment are vital. High HIV bias in conjunction with stigma based on sexual orientation and gender-identity within AAPI communities has led to a quarter of HIV infections going undiagnosed – 26.7% for Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islanders and 22.7% for Asian Americans. This has also resulted in advanced AIDS disease upon diagnosis of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, and a steadily rise since 2008 to reach 36.8%, the highest among all ethnic groups today, as the CDC reports.

Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are the only ethnic group to have had an increase in new HIV infections, at 4.4% from 2001 to 2008.  Although the number of HIV/AIDS infected Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islanders comprises less than 1% of new HIV infections in the United States, the US Census finds that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing racial/ethnic minority group in the U.S.  7,659 Asians and Pacific Islanders were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic until 2005.

We, the undersigned, urge the committee to consider the health of all Americans, especially those in Hawaii and the U.S. territories in Pacific, and we urge for increased funding to the OMH in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for FY2017.

Sincerely,

Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team
Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
Center for Asian Pacific American Women
Church of the Crossroads Honolulu
Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement
GALA, Inc.
The Hawaii LGBT Legacy Foundation
The Kumu Hina Project
National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
PRIDE Marianas
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
University of Hawaii at Manoa LGBTQ+ Center
U.T.O.P.I.A. Seattle

 

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a federation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations. We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT AAPI groups, develop leadership, promote visibility, educate our community, enhance grassroots organizing, expand collaborations, and challenge homophobia and racism.