Local and Community News
New York City: Traditional South Asians Face Higher Risk of HIV/AIDS
May 15, 2003
Ask any HIV/AIDS outreach worker in New York how the city's fast-growing South Asian community is faring and they are most likely to say: "Old habits die hard." "South Asians believe that AIDS is something that doesn't happen to them," says Gurpreet Clair of the city's Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS. South Asians are also less likely to discuss sex and dating topics with their friends, family members or anyone else.Adapted from:
Some 6,300 Asian and Pacific Islanders are HIV-positive in the United States, according to CDC. Some 64 percent of South Asians in Queens have no health insurance, according to a study last year by the New York Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training. Twenty percent of the HIV/AIDS patients who seek counseling with APICHA are South Asians, and most come in only after they are very sick. Chlamydia rates rose 32.9 percent among Asians in 1998, the highest growth rate of all racial groups.
The tens of thousands of South Asian cab drivers are one prevention target. The nongovernmental organization Cab Watch provides advice and awareness of the risks of unprotected sex to more than 6,000 members in New York City. More than 45 percent of them are South Asians. But the level of AIDS awareness is low even among South Asian professionals, Clair said.
At any given time, a quarter of US adult Indians are believed to be in India, a country with more than 4 million HIV cases -- second only to South Africa. International transmission "is not discussed yet," said one sexual health expert. APICHA outreach workers also found that social expectations and parental pressure have led many South Asian men to lead a heterosexual family man's life in public and a homosexual life in private.
Inter Press Service
05.09.03; Akhilesh Upadhyay
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.