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Each May, Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month honors the histories, cultures, and contributions of Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States. 

Planned Parenthood serves more than 2.4 million patients each year — over 120,000 or 5% of whom identify as Asian or Pacific Islander. Here in San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial counties, 6,104 of our patients in 2019 self-identified as Asian, and 615 self-identified as Pacific Islander.

Asian and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing racial group in the country. With 1 in 7 Asian immigrants undocumented, we know that health care options can be limited. 

Some health facts about Asian and Pacific Islander communities:

  • Cancer is the leading cause of death. The cervical cancer rate is higher in several Asian-American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander subgroups than in non-Hispanic whites. The incidence rate is twice as high in Cambodians than in non-Hispanic whites, and 40 percent higher among Vietnamese women.
  • One in five Asians living with HIV in the United States do not know they have it.
  • One in four Asian/Pacific Islanders is Limited English Proficient (LEP).
  • One in seven Asian immigrants is undocumented — making health care options more limited. 
  • For LGBTQ Asian/Pacific Islanders, the added barriers of homophobia and transphobia can result in medical discrimination, financial constraints that bar access to private insurance, trouble finding a culturally competent provider, and even violence at the hands of medical professionals.

As a health care provider, Planned Parenthood condemns the rising hate and discrimination that has been aimed at Asian and Pacific Islander communities under COVID-19. It’s yet one more attack on health care the current administration has imposed on people of color. 

We stand with Asian and Pacific Islander communities, and we are committed to protecting and expanding access to sexual and reproductive health care and education for all.

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