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Lee Mathis' New Part on ''General Hospital''

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Things got so bleak for actor Lee Mathis last November that he took out an ad in Variety begging for work so that his health benefits would not run out. ”Friends said it would ruin my career,” says Mathis, 42, of his decision to reveal his HIV-positive status in the notice. ”But I figured, f— it, I need the benefits.” Mathis has since won small roles in films and a recurring part on ABC’s General Hospital. He was introduced last month as Jon, a longtime friend of Lucy Coe (Lynn Herring). Jon is HIV-positive, and it’s implied that he’s gay, which makes Mathis the first gay, HIV-positive actor to play a similar character on the soaps. He finds this ”hard to believe — especially since so many of them are set in hospitals. I applaud [”GH”] for having the guts to do it.”

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