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Health blog: Back to School

Each fall welcomes a rush of activity, as the city of Atlanta switches gears and prepares for the return to school.  Shopping malls are a hustle and bustle of parent’s and student’s trying to find that perfect first day outfit which will identify them as the right balance of scholarly and cool.  Electronics fly off the shelves as families stock up on the latest and greatest in available calculators, computers and other gadgetry that are needed for today’s student.  Doctor’s office waiting rooms are overflowing as students prepare for immunizations, sports physicals and routine checkups.

There is an excitement and tension that overtakes the city as we all prepare for the educational lessons that await us each fall.

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Young gay men less likely to get HIV testing, CDC says

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta

The Centers for Disease Control released results from a survey today citing an alarming trend in HIV testing for young men (ages 18 -24). The survey, conducted using a website where men go to meet other men for sex (the website was not identified in the press release), found that younger sexually active gay and bisexual men were three times less likely to have been tested for HIV in their lifetime. The results were presented at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria.

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Health blog: Life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness

As the Gay Men’s Outreach coordinator at AID Atlanta, I often find myself having to explain what it is exactly that I do.  I often joke that I’m a “professional homosexual.”  I’ve been called an activist, an educator, a public speaker, a fundraiser and a social advocate.  I guess I’m all of those things – and probably a few more.  At the end of the day, however, what I’m most identified with being is Gay.

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Family & Medical Leave Act to include gay parents

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis

In a move praised by LGBT groups, the U.S. Department of Labor announced June 22 that it would expand the definition of “son and daughter” to make more gay families eligible for coverage under the Family & Medical Leave Act to care for sick children.

“No one who loves and nurtures a child day-in and day-out should be unable to care for that child when he or she falls ill. … The Labor Department’s action today sends a clear message to workers and employers alike: All families, including LGBT families, are protected by the FMLA,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

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No Georgia hospitals rated ‘top performers’ by HRC

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay political group, released its annual Healthcare Equality Index on June 7. Two Georgia hospitals, both in Atlanta, were among the 178 facilities rated on policies affecting LGBT patients and staff.

Emory University Hospital received credit for having an equal employment opportunity policy that includes sexual orientation.

Piedmont Hospital received credit for having a gay-inclusive Equal Employment policy, as well as visitation policies that give same-sex couples the same access as opposite-sex couples and next of kin, visitation polices that give same-sex partners the same visitation for their minor children as opposite-sex partners, and cultural competency training that includes healthcare issues that impact LGBT people.