ASIA Sees Need for More Bilingual Health Workers on World AIDS Day 2012

For Immediate Release
December 26, 2012

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Contact: Sujata Burgess;; (216) 881-0330 x208
Dana Silverman;; (216) 881-0330 x218

ASIA Sees Need for More Bilingual Health Workers on World AIDS Day 2012

LAKEWOOD – In recognition of World AIDS Day (December 1, 2012), Asian Services In Action, Inc. (ASIA) completed 12 free, confidential HIV screenings on Friday, November 30, 2012 at the Lakewood Madison Library Lower from 1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.  ASIA also partnered with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health to provide 112 flu shots to visitors age 6 months and over, many of whom reached the flu clinic through ASIA’s bilingual outreach and transportation workers.

All HIV screenings were administered by trained ASIA staff.  Results were free, confidential, and available the same day.

“We got a better number for HIV screenings than what we usually get.  It made sense to offer [the HIV screenings] in combination with the more ordinary flu vaccinations, so that clients didn’t feel so singled out,” said Sujata Burgess, Community Health Promotions Manager at ASIA, referring to the stigma which still surrounds HIV/AIDS in Asian & Pacific Islander (API) communities.  A fear of rejection by friends and family, along with a perception among health providers that APIs are at low risk for HIV/AIDS, means that nearly two-thirds of Asians and more than 70% of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have never been tested for HIV.1, 2

Even so, demand for the HIV screenings fell short of supply.  “We could have done a lot more HIV screenings if we had had more bilingual, trained workers,” said Burgess.  “Mostly it was just me doing the testing with one interpreter.  We just don’t have enough bilingual, trained health workers for multiple screenings.”

1Stigma, HIV/AIDS, and Asians & Pacific Islanders (Banyan Tree Project)
2HIV and Asians & Pacific Islanders (Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center)


Asian Services In Action
Founded in 1995, Asian Services In Action’s mission is to is to empower and advocate for Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders (AAPIs); and to provide AAPIs access to quality, culturally, and linguistically appropriate information and services. Visit to learn more.  Follow ASIA on Facebook and Twitter!