Giving a Voice to the LGBTQ+ Community

Meet Ryan Clary, Former Executive Director of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable and longtime HIV and AIDS advocate who has dedicated his life to giving a voice to liver patients, specifically the LGBTQ community, by pushing policymakers, public health officials, medical and health care providers to address our nation’s growing liver disease crisis.

For Ryan, the connections to viral hepatitis have been personal, and prompted him to take action.

“In March 2001, my partner was diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B and liver cancer and was given six months to live”, Clary said. “He passed away five months later at age 33. The following year, my uncle passed away from hepatitis C complications. While I had been working in HIV for ten years, my personal losses were in viral hepatitis and I knew I needed to do something to raise awareness around this silent, deadly disease.”


Ryan saw a clear divide between the education and care that heterosexual patients received versus that of the LGBTQ+ community.

“The biggest barrier in care for LGBTQ+ people is stigma”, Ryan said. Stigma not only around sexuality and gender identity but their disease as well. Ryan went on to say, “There are obviously specific conditions that LGBTQ+ people deal with that require sensitive and knowledgeable providers but in many parts of the country, those providers are few and far between.”

Another barrier for the LGBTQ+ community is access to affordable, quality healthcare. Statistics show LGBTQ+ people, especially transgender people, are more likely to be low income than heterosexual people. This results in difficulties affording health insurance and associated out of pocket expenses.

Ryan added, “LGBTQ+ immigrants, particularly those who are undocumented, have very limited access to healthcare coverage, if any at all. Furthermore, LGBTQ+ people of color have barriers based on racism and discrimination.”

During Ryan’s time as Executive Director for the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, he worked closely with American Liver Foundation (ALF) on policy and advocacy strategies. 

“ALF plays a unique role in connecting providers and those who have experienced these hardships firsthand”, Ryan stated. “They are a valuable partner in urging decision makers to provide the funding and leadership necessary to eliminate hepatitis B and C in the United States.”



Ryan is happily married to his partner of ten years and says that while there are still many obstacles to overcome, he is hopeful that one day we can break all healthcare barriers and provide the best care, knowledge and power to everyone in the U.S.

When asked what he’d like the public to know he said, “I want them to know that hepatitis B and C exist! I’d like them to check themselves and know that both diseases are preventable.”

June is Pride Month and we just want to say, “Thank you, Ryan!” Thank you for dedicating your life to speaking up for those who don’t have a voice. You are as courageous advocate for ALF and the entire LGBTQ+ community and we are proud to work with you.

Last updated on June 10th, 2024 at 12:22 pm

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