The San Francisco Department of Public Health is drastically cutting funding for HIV treatment and prevention in the Asian American Pacific Islander community and has allocated no money to stem the spread of the virus in Asian American women whose rates of HIV infections are on the rise.
Over the past four years, Asian Americans have had the highest increase in new HIV infections, going up from six percent to 10.3 percent. “Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the HIV infection rate in A&PI communities will surpass that of Latinos by 2015 and of African Americans by 2020 if left unchecked,” said Tri Do, an assistant adjunct professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, in an earlier story (I-W, May 27).
Only 10 percent of API men and less than one percent of Asian American women have been tested for the HIV virus.
San Francisco annually awards $9.7 million in funding to organizations within the city that work on HIV treatment and prevention. But the city is rolling out a new plan for prevention – known as New Directions – which primarily funds organizations working with Caucasian, African American and Latino gay men, according to API community advocates.
The SFDPH has cut its entire annual allocation of $350,000 to the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center, which claims to be the only organization in San Francisco working on HIV prevention with the API community.
The organization also does not have funding to provide direct HIV prevention to Asian American women in San Francisco.