Several Tory MPs are supporting an amendment to the Immigration Bill that would restrict the movement of people with HIV and Hepatitis B from coming to the UK.
The amendment has been introduced by Dr Phillip Lee, the Conservative MP for Bracknell, a former doctor.
Another former GP, the Conservative MP for Totnes, Dr Sarah Wollaston, is also supporting the proposal.
The following MPs, all Conservatives, have added their names to the amendment: Stephen Phillips, Stephen Barclay, Tracey Crouch, Dominic Raab, Graham Brady, Charlotte Leslie, Mark Field, Nigel Mills, Jonathan Djanogly, Chris Kelly, Bob Blackman, Jonathan Lord, Craig Whittaker, Conor Burns, Karl McCartney and Sir Gerald Howarth.
HIV charities say they are alarmed by the amendment, which would infringe on a number of existing human rights laws and United Nations declarations.
It would allow Home Secretary Theresa May to make decisions on the basis of whether an applicant has HIV or Hepatitis B. The clause states:-
(1) The Secretary of State may by order provide that persons who apply for
immigration permission must demonstrate that they are not carriers of any of the
prescribed pathogens listed in subsection (2).
(2) The prescribed pathogens are—
(a) Hepatitis B;
(b) HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus);
(c) such other pathogens as the Secretary of State may prescribe by order
under this section.’.
The Immigration Bill is currently being debated in the House of Commons.
The Home Office has told PinkNews.co.uk that the amendment does not reflect existing government policy and that it has no plans to introduce health screening for conditions such as HIV or hepatitis.
Officials state that the UK has also signed up to the June 2011 UN Declaration on HIV and AIDS, which encourages member states to eliminate HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence.