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NAPAFASA (National Asian Pacific American Family Against Substance Abuse) Conference: # 12: HIV/AIDS & Substance Abuse Service Strategies (Video)

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This videotape outlines the discussion about Asian/Pacific Islanders during a workshop on HIV/AIDs and substance abuse service strategies.
The cultural issues of Asian/Pacific Islanders are discussed as barriers to speaking about and educating this group on HIV/AIDS, drug and alcohol use, and homosexuality. Parents represent a generation that is not educated or informed on these issues. They particularly have expectations of sons that may exceed the sons’ abilities and desires. Educators and teachers need to be sensitized about cultural diversity in order to introduce the facts about HIV/AIDS. A stigma remains on issues surrounding these diseases. When speaking with youth, representatives from substance abuse agencies are surprised to learn that youth believe that there is a cure for AIDS, and that getting pregnant is the main reason for using birth control, not contracting HIV/AIDS. The lack of information is due to the cultural inability of Asian/Pacific Islanders to speak of such issues as sex and drug use. The stigma of homosexuality is strong in this community. People of color comprise the majority of cases of AIDS in this country. Asian/Pacific Islanders are a small portion of these numbers. For this reason, funding is almost nonexistent for agencies serving this population. Funding still goes primarily to white gay men organizations. The issue of alcohol use is usually overlooked as a risk behavior when regarding the contraction of HIV/AIDS. The risk among Asian women for AIDS is the highest in the country. It is believed the language barrier in the medical community is responsible. Women in Asian tradition don’t discuss sex partners, but the majority of these women with AIDS contract the disease from a man. Substance abuse agency personnel are urged to know their target community. Asian/Pacific Islanders must form coalitions with other people of color. Senior citizens need to be educated about HIV/AIDS. Asian/Pacific Island children are caught between their parents and peers. They grow up ashamed of being Asian in a white community. These issues must be addressed in order to stop the growing number of HIV/AIDS cases in this community.


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