APICHA Programs Update
March/April 2010 Edition
Editor-In-Chief: Jonathan Chang
Editorial Committee: Jennifer Chung, Diana Lieu, Zaheer Mustafa, Malvin Vien
3/6* – LGBTQ A&PI Youth Mentorship (GAYME), “Financial Independence & Planning for the Future” (3-6pm)
3/10 – National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (12-6pm testing event)
TBA** – SISTA Workshop Series
Unless otherwise noted, all events take place at APICHA.
*Please email email@example.com to RSVP.
**Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for updated SISTA information, including dates and times. SISTA is a five-session workshop series held to promote safer sex negotiation and reduce HIV risk taking behavior in heterosexual Asian women. The group sessions focus on ethnic and gender pride, HIV/AIDS knowledge, and skills training around sexual risk reduction behaviors and decision making. The workshop series can also be conducted in various Asian languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, and Japanese.
The Unexpected Call
by Mihaela Mihai, Clinic Manager
APICHA staff acknowledges the fact that there is a lot of stigma still associated with HIV in the Asian & Pacific Islander communities, so we work tirelessly to educate clients, patients, and community members. What came to us as a shock, however, was the resistance some medical providers in Brooklyn and Queens showed in response to an initiative designed to promote HIV testing. Comments like “my patients are clean,” ”my patients are family people,” and “my patients are Muslim” were uttered by doctors who did not see the need to discuss HIV with their patients or to encourage them to get an HIV test. It took many visits and discussions to convince some doctors just to display brochures about HIV/AIDS in their office. Based on the doctors’ reactions, staff were discouraged and felt the initiative was not successful.
More than a year later, the clinic received an unexpected call. One of the community doctors to whom we had outreached called to refer one of his patients for HIV primary care. The East Asian monolingual patient called later to schedule an appointment but did not tell us that he was diagnosed with HIV. He only said that his doctor had told him APICHA was better equipped to help him with his illness. The patient is also married with two children, and this shows that HIV does not discriminate and also affects those who are “family people.” The patient is now accessing HIV medical care and case management services at APICHA.
From this case, we learned our initiative was indeed a success! Not only did the doctor talk to his patient about HIV, but he tested him and referred him for HIV care. We will continue to outreach to medical providers, and we hope they will join us in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
*The original initiative was in collaboration with NYC Health & Hospitals Corporation through funding from NYC Council.
A Former Peer Educator’s Story
by Anthony Lee, Volunteer Peer Advocate
When I first took the position of Youth Peer Educator, I had a simple goal in mind; I wanted to make my college application stand out and look impressive. This goal, along with the prospect of having a paycheck so my parents’ financial burden would be alleviated, was by far the most alluring aspect of the job. Six months down the line, my initial goals of having an impressive resume and earning money took a backseat to the purpose of my job.
I realized that HIV was no longer a deadly disease by itself; rather, it was ignorance that killed. I began to understand that knowledge is a privilege, and for the majority of the immigrant A&PI community, there was no other reliable source of information regarding HIV/AIDS. As long as the stigma and ignorance of the Asian & Pacific Islander community persists, the disease will spread. From advising my closest friends to use protection to teaching several classes at a time about the severity of the disease, I was able to open the eyes and minds of those around me to this pandemic.
On a personal level, I saw myself develop in ways that no amount of schooling ever could. I found myself able to maintain a professional demeanor and speak without hesitation in any circumstance. At the same time, I became a counselor for my peers. I was not a Peer Educator only during work hours, but it became an around-the-clock responsibility for me. They came to me with a whole spectrum of problems from pregnancy scares to possible STIs to general relationship problems. It was difficult balancing school and APICHA, but the experience I gained was well worth the sacrifices I had to make.
When my time as Youth Peer Educator came to an end, I decided to continue working at APICHA as a Volunteer Peer Advocate. I am grateful for having been able to contribute my efforts towards the cause and working with such talented, genial, and motivated individuals through it all. As I look back at what I have achieved, I see small steps of progress, but the struggle against HIV/AIDS continues. Regardless, I have reason to be proud of the progress I have made throughout my time at APICHA.
*The peer program is supported by funding from New York State Department of Health- AIDS Institute.
Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:30am-5:30pm
Clinic Hours: M/T/F: 9:30am-5:30pm, W/Th: 9:30am-7pm
HIV Testing Hours: M/T/Th/F: 10:30am-5:30pm, W: 1:30pm-7:30pm
To make an appointment for testing, please call Infoline: 866-APICHA9 (866-274-2429)
To make an appointment for medical care, call: 212-334-6029
To support APICHA and our initiatives, please visit: www.apicha.org/contribute
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ABOUT ASIAN & PACIFIC ISLANDER COALITION ON HIV/AIDS, INC.
Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Inc. (APICHA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1989 located in New York City. APICHA’s mission is to combat HIV/AIDS stigma and related discrimination, to prevent the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the Asian and Pacific Islander (A&PI) communities, and to provide care and treatment for A&PIs living with HIV/AIDS and their families. For more information, visit: www.apicha.org.