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Have You Done It Lately?

November 21, 2010

For our World AIDS Day 2010 section, we wanted to capture the diversity of the AIDS community. So, we reached out to people across the world -- mostly those who have never written for us before -- and asked them to guest blog. These columns are written by people who are living with HIV, have been affected by HIV, or work in the field.

Pamela K. Santos

Pamela K. Santos

Yes, you read right.

Have you done it lately?

Have you gotten tested for HIV lately?

That's the topic for an upcoming Vox Pop video for MTV's Staying Alive Foundation to be filmed in association with the Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Inc. (APICHA).


The need for the dialogue about HIV testing is strong among Asian/Pacific Islanders (APIs), who are the lowest group in statistics for HIV testing for people living in NYC (based on data from the 2009 NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Community Health Survey). In 2009, 58 percent of APIs reported that they have never been tested, compared to almost 28 percent of African Americans and Hispanics. As for those who got tested "lately," only 17 percent of APIs got tested in the last 12 months, compared to 45 percent of African Americans and 41 percent of Hispanics.

Opening the dialogue among social media networks seems to be a growing trend in World AIDS Day campaigns. UNAIDS launched a recent social media campaign, "Prevention Revolution," to engage people in an online dialogue about topics in HIV prevention every Tuesday leading up to World AIDS Day. The first YouTube video uses animation and a compelling statistic of more than 7,000 new HIV infections every day to call for a "prevention revolution."

APICHA has been working on HIV prevention in the API communities of NYC for 21 years, and still they say the fight is not over. HIV/AIDS stigma and related discrimination continue to pose a problem for testing with APIs. Candidness is not a common trait in traditional Asian cultures, least of all candidness about sexual practices and health.

What about you? I'd like to hear from you, the readers, about your thoughts on HIV testing. Have you done it lately? What freaks you out about getting tested? What was the tipping point (or event) that made you decide to get tested?

If you haven't done it lately, what's stopping you? Tell us about it in the comments.

This article was provided by

See Also
More on HIV/AIDS in the Asian/Pacific-American Community

Reader Comments:

Comment by: bartleby (new york, ny) Wed., Feb. 23, 2011 at 2:02 pm EST
obviously there needs to be dialogue about testing. the HIV ignorance I see is alarming, but it's usually ignorance in general, ie homophobia and racism.

everybody of every ethnicity should get tested. but i think asian americans don't get tested because they don't know it's a problem. most don't even know what HIV is or how they can get it.
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Comment by: An X of APICHA (new york, ny) Tue., Feb. 15, 2011 at 8:18 pm EST
APICHA is a very poor organization to help the people in asia and pacific island.

Case and example: other "cultured" organization would have a walk-in test day. But not with APICHA, first you register, name, where you live and where you work, etc just for an appointment to be tested.

APICHA, get real.
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Mel (New York) Thu., Mar. 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm EST
Let me explain the difference between confidential and anonymous testing. APICHA -- and every other organization, clinic and hospital -- will ask for your name, your address, because they do CONFIDENTIAL testing. They take info, but it stays within the organization.

Nobody is allowed to do ANONYMOUS testing (where you give NO information) but the NYC Department of Health. And if you come back positive for HIV, you would need to take the test again and give your information.

Please get your information right.

Comment by: beatrice o. (queens, newyork) Wed., Dec. 1, 2010 at 8:25 pm EST
Pam, job well done definitely there is a need for dialogue because this is an area that most people avoid talking about.As mentioned in your article it has a lot to do with the stigma.
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Comment by: James B. (Queens, New York) Tue., Nov. 30, 2010 at 8:35 am EST
Very nice blog entry, Pamela. Excellent work, as always.
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