The Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center (APIWC) in San Francisco, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, offers HIV testing, primary care and other services to the community, regardless of race, ethnicity or immigration status.
"We've always served clients in communities beyond Asians and Pacific Islanders," said Executive Director Lance Toma. "What makes me proud is that in this point in time, we are providing services to all our communities in San Francisco, and I'm proud that [APIWC] can demonstrate the kind of bold leadership that our communities deserve."
APIWC was formed in 1996 through the merger of the Asian AIDS Project (established in 1987 within Asian American Recovery Services) and the Living Well Project. Earlier this year, APIWC took on many former clients of Tenderloin Health, which closed for financial reasons. APIWC provides its services free of charge to low-income clients with inadequate or no insurance coverage.
The Affordable Care Act remains a concern for APIWC, Toma said. "With respect to HIV and other marginalized communities, there's still a lot of work to be done about how health care reform truly includes all our communities in our country," he said.
Edwin Mah, a client living with AIDS, said APIWC helps him with psychotherapy and a monthly social support group where he learns about new treatment news and other developments. "I still feel like kind of an outsider in the gay community," he said, noting he is sometimes "the only Asian in the room." But APIWC, on whose consumer advocate board Mah serves, feels like a "close-knit community."
[PNU editor's note: For more information about APIWC, visit www.apiwellness.org/home.html.]
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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