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Equal Insurance HIV Act to End Discrimination Against HIV-Positive Patients

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SACRAMENTO — Senator Lena Gonzalez (D – Long Beach), Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, and Equality California have announced the Equal Insurance HIV Act to stop insurance companies from denying life and disability income insurance coverage based solely on HIV status.

This bill proposal would enact anti-discrimination protections in life and disability income insurance products for those living with HIV by banning HIV discrimination to ensure they have equal access to the coverage they deserve.

“Everyone deserves access to life and disability income insurance, regardless of preexisting conditions,” said Senator Lena Gonzalez. “I am so proud that my first bill introduced in the legislature will ensure access to the coverage they deserve.

“Everyone deserves access to life and disability income insurance, regardless of preexisting conditions,” said Senator Lena Gonzalez. “I am so proud that my first bill introduced in the legislature will ensure access to these critical resources for residents who are HIV-positive. It is time that we end the practice of insurance companies refusing to provide services to those who need it most.”

This proposed bill overturns a law passed in 1989 when treatment for someone who tested HIV positive was extremely limited. Therapies were ineffective, highly expensive, and came with severe side effects causing many individuals who were HIV positive to bypass treatment.

Today, with the access to health care, advancement in HIV testing, and more effective treatment, a person who is HIV positive and undergoes and remains on treatment can live a long healthy life. HIV status is treated by medical professionals like any other treatable chronic condition.

“A person should not be defined by their HIV status and it should not be the only factor when determining their right to insurance protection,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “People living with HIV are raising families and seeing their children grow up just like anyone. This legislation is crucial to ensure they have equal access to the same kinds of insurance that helps us all plan for the future.”

With HIV positive people living longer healthy lives, their need for life and disability income insurance is imperative to protect themselves and their families. Current California law allows insurers to deny coverage for life or disability income insurance to HIV-positive individuals based on positive results of an ELISA test followed by a positive Western Blot Assay performed by or at the direction of the insurer – tests that are no longer commonly used today.

“Thanks to modern medicine, people living with HIV lead happy, healthy lives,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “It’s time for our laws to keep up with the science and protect Californians living with HIV from insurance discrimination. Our goal to end HIV by 2030 means ending all HIV transmissions, deaths and stigma. This bill is a critical step to getting there.”

A person’s HIV positive status should be treated in the same way as any other chronic condition in the writing of life and disability income insurance. This bill proposal will ensure that life and disability insurance companies can no longer use an outdated and discriminatory insurance underwriting law that allows insurers to refuse life and disability income insurance applications for HIV positive individuals based solely on a positive HIV test.

“The life expectancy of people who are HIV positive has dramatically changed in the last two decades thanks to highly effective HIV treatment regimen including new antiretroviral drugs and existing antiretroviral therapy,” said Dr. Tasnim Khan, Chief Medical Officer of One Community Health. “It is now time to acknowledge the advances in HIV care and prevention and how to work collaboratively with the insurance industry to review policies on life and disability income coverage to people living with HIV.”

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Health

ABC Boss Hosts Fundraiser for Children’s Hospital Transyouth Center

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Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy, who has been treating patients at the Children's Hospital Transyouth Center since 2006.

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Report) — The ABC Network President and ‘Project Runway’ creator is honoring the work of Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy, who has been treating patients at the Children’s Hospital Transyouth Center since 2006.

Upon a first glance of the Bottega Lorenzetto Art Studio, visitors can see walls covered with abstract portraitures not only bold in shape and color, but also fluid in design.

The colorful gallery located on Sunset in West Hollywood became the site for a fundraiser event on Saturday aimed to benefit The Center for Transyouth Health and Development.

The fundraiser was hosted by Project Runway creator Jane Cha Cutler and ABC Network President Karey Burke, who spent the night honoring the work of Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy, a longtime physician at the […]

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Genea Sky, Stripper Who Fell Off 15-ft Pole, Never Wants to Dance Again

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Genea Sky — the exotic dancer who came crashing down from a 15-foot pole but kept twerking afterward — is taking a page out of the great George Michael ‘s song, “Careless Whisper,” ’cause she never wants to dance again.

Sources close to Genea tell TMZ … she’s telling friends she’s done being a stripper and doesn’t want to dance anymore, because her fall and the injuries she suffered have scared her to death.

We’re told she’s grateful for all her fellow strippers who’ve reached out with comforting messages and shared their own injury stories … it’s made Genea feel like she’s not alone.

Our sources say the painful experience has also inspired Sky to try to change the industry and improve exotic dancers’ lives … but she’s not sure how yet.

The interesting thing is … we’re told Genea’s received a ton of offers from strip clubs and been asked to appear in music vids ever since she unintentionally went viral, but she wants none of it.

Our sources say Genea’s focused on healing up right now after having surgery for a broken jaw … along with her other injuries.

It should be noted — she has made appearances in a couple popular music videos, including G-Eazy‘s “No Limit” remix … so maybe she can get back to that when she’s all better, even if her days on the pole are no more.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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Health

Are Bathhouses About to Make a Comeback in San Fran After Ban?

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SAN FRANCISCO (Queerty) — The city of San Francisco will consider revoking a 1980s law that banned bathhouses in the city.

In the 1970s, bathhouses acted as magnets for gay men, both to meet other singles and to experience music, dancing and social time. That changed with the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, which prompted major cities like New York and San Francisco to shutter the popular gay bathing spots.

Laws required the removal of private rooms and video booths, as well as to have a “monitor” on-site to make sure nobody engaged in unsafe sexual practices.

Now the City by the Bay will consider removing those regulations entirely. “Our current regulations for adult sex venues were put in […]

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