Some really interesting research has been conducted by Dr. Hyeouk Chris Hahm, a professor at Boston University. She is the lead investigator of the API Women’s Sexual Health Initiative Project and has found that API women are four times more likely than API men to contract HIV.
While there are various reasons for this figure–such as the fact that API women generally tend to become sexually active later in life than other women and some choose not to use condoms–one main concern is the “model minority” myth. Hahm sees API women thinking that they’re “invincible” because of this idea of being the model minority in society, and this thinking can also be taken on by doctors. API women, according to Hahm’s research in Massachusetts, are the least likely to get tested for HIV than women of all other races. This may in part be due to the lack of encouragement from doctors and other healthcare workers. More can be read here.
This issue is very prevalent today, especially in Oregon where healthcare that can cater to APIs is very few and far between. Cultural sensitivity within healthcare facilities in Oregon is something APANO has advocated for, and is extremely important for the API community to stand behind.
For further information on HIV and API women, go to http://www.bu.edu/ssw/2011/02/16/faculty-study-works-to-identify-hiv-risk-behaviors-in-asian-american-women/
Jillian Toda is an Oregonian from the Columbia River Gorge, where her great grandparents farmed upon arriving to America from Japan. She is currently a student at Willamette University earning a B.A. in Rhetoric and Media Studies, with a minor in American Ethnic Studies, while also working toward an M.B.A. at Atkinson Graduate School of Management in Salem, OR. New to blogging, Jillian’s personal blog can be found at http://reality-plus-me.blogspot.com/