SAN GABRIEL - With women making up 13 percent of newly-diagnosed AIDS cases in Los Angeles County, officials with the Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team sought Friday to shed light on the growing epidemic on a local level.
The second annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, held at the Asian Youth Center, brought researchers, addiction specialists and treatment center officials to talk about how HIV/AIDS affects the lives of Asian and Pacific Islander women in Los Angeles.
"Knowledge is power," said Fiona Ao, APAIT's women's health educator, adding that she hopes the "veil of silence" is lifted on all women struggling with the disease, and may be unaware of the support services available.
According to statistics compiled by the APAIT, in the San Gabriel Valley, women account for 16 percent of AIDS cases, compared with the county, where approximately 10.9 percent of AIDS cases are women.
The goal of Friday's presentation is to increase HIV/AIDS awareness among young woman in the San Gabriel, discuss the impact of substance abuse and its connection to HIV/AIDS, and simply educate the public about steps they can take, including undergoing HIV testing.
The panelists included Rosemary Veniegas, a researcher at the UCLA, Doreen Garcia, executive director of Casa De Las Amigas in Pasadena, Karla Ferreira, of Bienestar, a Latino advocacy organization, and Nancy Sekizawa, certified addiction specialist with APAIT.
Assemblyman Mike Eng, D- El Monte, provided closing remarks, urging those in attendance to continue to fight for those impacted by HIV/AIDS, and, particularly women.
"We will live another day to fight this disease with education, hope and love," Eng said.
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