Our LGBT loved ones have unique health needs, yet do not have equal access to quality healthcare to address these specific needs. Often they face financial, personal and cultural barriers when attempting to access healthcare. Lack of access is caused by the lack of culturally competent providers, the lack of financial resources to obtain appropriate care, and the fear of disclosing one’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
These problems are compounded because many of our loved ones may be at higher risk of certain forms of cancers, along with stress-related mental health problems and substance abuse due to our culture’s pervasive homophobia and transphobia.
Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage and Allow Legal HIV Discrimination Act of 2013 (Repeal HIV Act)
The bill was introduced to the House as H.R. 1843 by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) on May 7, 2013 and in the Senate as S. 1790 by Senator Christopher Coons (D-DE) on December 10, 2013. As of publication, this bill has 45 co-sponsors in the House and one co-sponsor in the Senate.
What this Bill Will Do:
The REPEAL HIV Act would modernize laws, and eliminate discrimination, with respect to people living with HIV/AIDS.
What You Need to Ask For:
Urge your representatives and senators to support and co-sponsor this bill, as it will review the laws that are currently in place to make sure that they are not discriminatory on the sole fact that the person has HIV/AIDS. Thank your representatives and senators that do support and have already co-sponsored the REPEAL HIV Act.
PFLAG Talking Points:
This does not remove the laws that exist to prosecute people who engage in the practice to intentionally transmit HIV, it is only a review of those aforementioned laws and policies.
This is a very open process, as the review would be headed by the Attorney General, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of Defense and all of the results must be shared with Congress and made publicly available.
This would result in clearer, more accurate policies that would remove any discrimination that people with HIV/AIDS face from the government.
As of this publication, this bill has 45 co-sponsors in the House and one co-sponsor in the Senate.
This bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Military Personnel and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
Department of Health and Human Services
In coalition with a number of national LGBT organizations, PFLAG continues to advocate for the Department of Health and Human Services to include questions and data collection pertinent to the LGBT community as part of the duties of the National Center for Health Statistics. Where legal, questions about the sexual orientation and gender identity of respondents should be included, and where appropriate, questions on surveys that focus on behaviors, should be inclusive so that federal programs and services can better meet and respond to the specific needs of our loved ones.
Straight for Equality in Healthcare
Straight for Equality is a national outreach and education project created by PFLAG National to empower allies in supporting and advocating for LGBT people and their families by educating community members and engaging allies to move equality forward.
The goal of the Straight for Equality in Healthcareprogram is to help healthcare providers in all healthcare fields locate information about what it means to be an ally in healthcare, to provide resources about the specific healthcare concerns/needs of the LGBT community, and to provide ways that providers can better support LGBT people who are accessing healthcare services. Learn more about Straight for Equality in Healthcare here.
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