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Manulife to offer life insurance to HIV-positive Canadians

(iStock Photo)

Local advocates are happy with the move but call it long overdue

The company says those affected can apply for life insurance up to $2 million

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Manulife is now offering life insurance to those living with HIV, welcomed news by those with the condition. And two local advocates who say this has been a long time coming.

Neil Self with Positive Living BC says it’s a burden lifted for those with partners or families wanting to ensure financial stability. “Having that option now to do that is going to take a load off for a lot of HIV positive people and it’s about time.”

That’s echoed by Bradford McIntyre, who’s been living with HIV since 1984. “Given that individuals infected with HIV can live a long and healthy life, life insurance is an important issue.”

Both Self and McIntyre are considering getting an insurance policy through Manulife.

A revolution in drug treatments in recent years has changed the diagnosis from one of a quick death sentence to a disease that can be managed with proper medication.

A report last year by the Canadian Observational Cohort Collaboration said the overall life expectancy of Canadians undergoing anti-retroviral treatment for the AIDS-causing virus had climbed to 65 years.

Gary Lacasse, executive director of the Canadian AIDS Society, says he wants more specifics of what Manulife is offering. “If they look at the scientific data it’s a chronic disease now,” he said. “It’s not a deadly disease. We hope that the rest of the industry will follow suit.”

The company says applicants who have tested HIV-positive, are between the ages of 30 and 65, and meet certain criteria, can apply for individual life insurance for up to $2 million.