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Few words about my first Hunt story

Few words about my first Hunt story

Picture of Rong  Xiaoqing

My Dennis Hunt grant story, No Racial Boundary for HIV, was published in Sing Tao Daily on the World AIDS Day in 2009. It was the only feature story published in any publications in New York, if not in the nation, that focused on the AIDS/HIV issue in the Asian community.

It's not a surprise. The Asian community has long been considered as a "safe" community because there aren't many known drug users or gay men, the high-risk population defined by the Center for Disease Control. And the population that are diagnosed as HIV positive in the Asian community is the smallest among all the ethnic groups.

This would make me feel relieved if I didn't find during my research for the fellowship story that there is something else going on beneath this picture of a "model minority."

The Asian community is the only ethnic group in New York where the rate of infection is still increasing, community service providers and scholars who study the issue believe the current infection rate is largely underestimated because the Asians do not likely to take the HIV test voluntarily.

The Asian culture tends to have little sympathy on people with HIV, assuming they must have done something wrong. This pushes HIV positive people further into isolation and desperation.

Because of this, it was very hard to find HIV positive people who'd like to talk to the press. This was a major challenge I had to deal with during the process of doing the story. People who eventually talked to me all required their names to be altered. But their stories were real and heartbreaking. They were too used to be isolated that one person even flinched and then cried when I shook his hand.

When the story was published I got some positive feedbacks from the readers. Some were anonymous. No one identified him or herself as HIV positive. But I believe the story at least has sent out a message to them: they should not be fighting for their lives alone, and, indeed, they are not.

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