History

API Wellness started in 1987 as a grassroots response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in Asian & Pacific Islander communities. We endeavored to meet the real health care needs of the most disenfranchised A&PIs.

API Wellness has grown to become a multicultural health services, education, research, and policy organization. We transform lives, strengthen well-being, and lead under-served communities—of any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or immigration status—toward justice and health. We continue to educate, support, empower, and advocate for the most marginalized and vulnerable in our communities, particularly A&PIs and people living with HIV. With 25 years of experience in addressing the health needs of communities of color, A&PI Wellness Center has the ability to put innovative, holistic, and effective programs and services in place.

2006 API Wellness Welcomes Lance Toma, LCSW, as New Executive Director!
2006 Gay Asian Pacific Alliance honors A&PI Wellness Center with Community Ally Award on 11/10.
2006 Mayor Gavin Newsom honors A&PI Wellness Center at the First Annual Tribute to Queer A&PI Culture and History at San Francisco City Hall.
2006 Executive Director John Manzon-Santos announced that he is stepping down after 10 years of dedicated work
2006 Vice Admiral Richard Carmona, U.S. Surgeon General, joins API Wellness in commemorating National A&PI HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
2006 Jason Scott Lee joins API Wellness in commemorating National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, on Friday, May 19 and celebrates its 20th Year of Community Leadership.
2006 Over sixty-five participants from Tenderloin neighborhood attended our 4th Annual ASIAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER WOMEN & GIRL’S DAY!
2006 Long-time sister agency, Asian Women’s Shelter, honors A&PI Wellness Center at their 18th annual event.
2005 We collaborated with Quan Yin Healing Arts Center, Project Open Hand and Shanti to provide a space for meditation and remembrance, food and conversation, and HIB testing and therapeutic massage for clients on World AIDS Day.
2005 Transgender program offers employment workshops.
2005 Thirteen queer A&PI students were awarded at Pride scholarship endowed by philanthropist and community leader Edward Cheng Ming Tang.
2005 Fire & Ice, benefited API Wellness with two unique and spectacular performances for an audience of 1,200.
2005 For the 6th year in row, we coordinated a weekend of A&PI LGTB pride with free mobile rapid HIV testing, A&PI Pride stage; A&PI pavilion of local community organizations; and Banyan Tree float.
2005 API Wellness coordinates the First National A&PI HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on May 19th; Family Trees on National A&PI HIV/AIDS Awareness Day; and commemorated Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with MIX’05, our annual event which raised $50,000
2005 On May 16th, we convened a press conference at San Francisco City Hall to promote the National A&PI HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and to unveil our local, Chinese-language anti-stigma campaign-One Mind Opened, One Heart Touched, One Life Changed.
2005 Miss Hawai’i 2004, Olena Rubin , a powerful A&PI role model and charismatic ambassador in the fight against HIV/AIDS, brought the aloha spirit to A&PI Wellness Center to help promote The Banyan Tree Project’s First National A&PI HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to local ethnic and LGTB press.
2005 Planned and hosted Family Style: Recipes for Successful HIV Prevention Programs for Asians & Pacific Islanders, a national training to build capacity in HIV prevention program development, drawing 60 community-based attendees from the Federal States of Micronesia to Boston.
2004 API Wellness hosts HIV activists from Japan!
2004 API Wellness publishes its FIRST-EVER Community Report.
2004 300 surveys administrated by twelve vibrant bilingual Chinese youth volunteers in Chinatown for our HIV Anti-Stigma Campaign in Chinese Community.
2004 API Wellness Names Jan Masaoka Chair of its Board of Directors. Helen Zia honored by NGLJA.
2004 API Wellness Addresses Same Sex Marriage: our deputy director, Lance Toma gave speech at the Asian & Allies Rally for Marriage Equality Event on August 8, 2004.
2003 API Wellness opens two satellite offices in Oakland and Daly City.
2003 HIV/AIDS Anti-Stigma Initiative funded by Ford Foundation. API Wellness is one of 5 organizations across the country funded to research and conduct a stigma-reducing media campaign for Chinese and Vietnamese communities.
2002 API Wellness convenes first national conference on A&PIs and HIV/AIDS. This research summit was convened in collaboration with Office of AIDS Research, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health & Human Services and University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.
2002 Needle exchange site for hormone injecting transgenders established.
2002 The number of HIV-positive CARE clients receiving services from A&PI Wellness Center reaches an all-time high.
2001 Launched regular column on sexual diversity called Paying Attention in AsianWeek — the only national English language news weekly for Asian Pacific Americans.
2001 TECP becomes CSTEP—California State Treatment Education Program – and expands statewide in California.
2000 API Wellness receives the Pink Peacock Award from Trikone, an international South Asian queer organization, at their DesiQ2000 national conference.
2000 Establishment of a three-year, research project with UCSF’s Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS). This partnership allows A&PIWC both to offer additional prevention services to 300 men and ensure that our programs are rigorously evaluated, research-based, and cutting-edge.
2000 Initiates HIV primary prevention program for HIV-positive A&PIs, one of four partnerships focusing on People of Color in California, made possible by the Northern California Grantmakers. The program doubles the number of hours of psychotherpy we can offer our clients.
2000 Produces the Clinician’s Guide to Working with Asians and Pacific Islanders with HIV, a practical resource for medical providers who are confronted with basic cultural challenges presented by A&PI patients in healthcare settings, now downloadable on our website.
2000 Distributes $16,000 in scholarships distributed in the inaugural year of our annual Queer Asian & Pacific Islander Pride Scholarship Fund thanks to the generosity of philanthropist Edward Cheng Ming Tang.
2000 Launches the first ever Asian & Pacific Islander Pride Stage, which broadcasted important prevention messages to the more than 750,000 people attending the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration.
2000 Establishment of QUACK — Queer Asian & Pacific Islander Chicks — a new support program that creates a young women’s-only space through monthly workshops, drop-ins and socials. QUACK members develop essential skills and gain information to make well-informed decisions about their sexual health and well-being.
1999 Establishment of mobile and on-site HIV testing—Wellness Wednesdays.
1999 The Video, There Is No Name For This, is reviewed and approved by the SF Unified School District for inclusion in the curriculum for middle and high schools.
1998 The Rice Girls make their debut at the Go Boy Go! Contest at the N’Touch: Stickee, Wilde, Jasmine, Fried and Steamed Rice—API Wellness’s original ambassadors of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Education—perform a medley of the Spice Girls’ greatest hits.
1998 API Wellness hosts its First Annual “a thursday in may” Community Awards and Silent Auction Event at the Asian Art Museum in Golden Gate Park.
1998 Collaborations with neighborhood providers allow A&PI Wellness Center to provide on-site primary medical care (Tom Waddell Health Center); psychiatric consultation (Family Service Agency); and housing assistance (San Francisco AIDS Foundation).
1998 Establishment of Treatment Education Certification Program (TECP), a collaboration with Project Inform. TECP provides comprehensive, multi-day trainings on all aspects of HIV treatment to non-medical HIV service providers throughout San Francisco.
1997 API Wellness’s Visibility Campaign completes production on There Is No Name For This – Chinese in America Discuss Sexual Diversity, a trilingual video targeting homophobia and heterosexism in the Chinese community through a broad spectrum of interviews with activists, family members and community leaders, straight and gay.
1996 API Wellness moves to its current location in the Tenderloin at 730 Polk Street.
1996 John Manzon-Santos is hired as the new Executive Director.
1996 API Wellness(API Wellness) is formed out of the merger of Asian AIDS Project and Living Well Project. API Wellness becomes the largest and most comprehensive A&PI-focused HIV/AIDS organization in North America.
1995 Volunteer services, which provides practical and emotional support for HIV+ A&PIs, is named “Ohana” (which means “family” in Hawaiian).
1995 The Visibility Campaign is initiated to increase awareness and education in A&PI communities about both HIV/AIDS and sexual diversity. The Campaign begins work on the video There Is No Name For This — Chinese in America Discuss Sexual Diversity (1997), and collaborates with PFLAG (Parents, Family & Friends of Lesbians and Gays), to launch a support network for A&PI families—A&PI PFLAG.
1995 AQU25A — Asians & Pacific Islanders Queer & Questioning 25 & Under Altogether — is formed. AQU25A is the first program in North America to support and empower queer and questioning A&PI youth.
1995 GCHP Becomes Living Well Project.
1994 GCHP joins GAPA in marching at the annual Cherry Blossom Parade.
1994 Creates HIV+ A&PI Women’s Support Group.
1994 Receives first Mental Health Contract which is more responsive to the needs of A&PIs.
1993 With the University of California, San Francisco, GCHP begins a three-year study on the HIV risk behaviors of gay and bisexual A&PI men, which also evaluated the effectiveness of prevention workshops.
1993 Establishment of Treatment Advocacy Program for HIV+ A&PIs.
1993 Establishment of the National Technical Assistance Program which builds HIV prevention capacity in A&PI organizations and communities throughout the United States and its Pacific Territories.
1993 Establishment of the Youth In Detention Program (now called the HOPE Program), which empowers and serves A&PI youth, ages 12 to 18, in high-risk situations: chronically truant, runaway, homeless, or involved in San Francisco’s juvenile justice system.
1993 Establishment of the Women’s Program, which operates HIV prevention and health education efforts (with a focus on sexual health) that serve A&PI women who are at extremely high risk of HIV infection due to their work in Tenderloin massage parlors, as well as their isolation from community resources and the mainstream health care system.
1992 Establishment of first Peer Leader Program — Promoting Real Options and Alternatives (P.R.O.A.) — by AAP.
1991 GCHP establishes the first multi-lingual case management services for HIV+ A&PIs.
1989 AAP produces first Rubber Club community event.
1989 AAP hosts its first Community Awards and Silent Auction.
1989 Establishment of GAPA Community HIV Project (GCHP). GCHP was formed to address the impact of HIV among the lives of A&PIs, and develops expertise in providing emotional and practical support for A&PIs living with HIV/AIDS.
1989 AAP initiates the first outreach and support programs to target A&PI Transgenders, and forms ethnic specific Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSM) Programs.
1988 An informal support group for HIV+ Asian & Pacific Islander gay men is started by members of Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA). GAPA is an organization dedicated to furthering the interests of gay & bisexual Asian/Pacific Islanders by creating awareness, by developing a positive collective identity and by establishing a supportive community. GAPA was formed from the need for an organization to address, through a democratic process, social, cultural and political issues affecting the gay & bisexual Asian & Pacific Islander community. The HIV+ support group would later grow to include women, youth, and ethnic specific monolingual groups to become the Living Well Network.
1987 Establishment of Asian AIDS Project (AAP) within Asian American Recovery Services. AAP is the first HIV/AIDS services organization to specifically target Asians and Pacific Islanders (A&PIs) in North America with outreach and HIV/AIDS prevention education.