Gov. Jerry Brown just signed a law requiring that California health care providers be trained to better understand the specific health needs of the LGBT community.
The law is meant to target inequities in medical treatment for LGBT patients who, according to the San Francisco Examiner, suffer from a lack of provider understanding of gay and transgendered health issues.
Assemblyman Richard Gordon, D-Menlo Park, who authored the original bill AB 496, contends that LGBT patients have a variety of negative experiences with doctors and other healthcare professionals.
Lesbian couples complain that they have difficulty finding OB-GYN doctors willing to counsel them with in vitro fertilization options. Gordon adds that gays and lesbians criticize hospital staff for not treating them with respect while visiting their hospitalized life partners.
Jason Galisatus, a gay-rights activist for the Peninsula region of San Francisco claims that gay senior citizens are being drawn back into the closet when dealing with insensitive hospital staff. The activist hopes that the new law will make it easier for gays to discuss important health issues like pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a HIV preventative drug, with their doctor.
Because gay men, transgender people and people of color incur greater rates of HIV infection, Galisatus explains that it’s crucial that they are comfortable talking with doctors about their medical histories and risk factors.