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Activist raised eyebrows at White House but also awareness of illness affect gay community

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The Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — George Raya had a seat at the table of the historic 1977 White House meeting of the National Gay Task Force, the first time a president invited LGBTQ advocates to discuss the issues their community faced. The then-27-year-old came with an issue in mind: hepatitis. Although little was known about the disease, hepatitis plagued the gay community in the 1970s. Gay individuals were seven times more likely to have had an active infection than their straight counterparts, according to a study reported in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in 1978. The sexually transmitted disease causes…

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