A tourist was shocked to be told he could not visit Australia, because he is living with HIV.
Australia continues to operate a controversial system requiring HIV tests for permanent migrants – but the law does not usually does not usually apply to visiting tourists.
However, one 60-year-old Scandinavian tourist has spoken out in an interview with the Star Observer, after he was denied entry.
The man, who does not wish to be identified for professional reasons, has been living with HIV since 1994 – and has visited Australia every year for 22 years.
However, after he applied for a tourist visa for a three-month holiday in the country, he was shocked to be told he had failed a medical test because he has HIV.
According to the news site, the Medical Officer of the Commonwealth concluded that the man “did not satisfy” regulations because he is “likely to require health care or community services… [at] significant cost to the Australian community”.
The man was taken aback by the claim, given he simply takes a daily pill – and takes his medication with him when he travels.
The traveller, who has never required hospital treatment in Australia in any of his past visits, said: “Even though I have HIV, I am a healthy person…. someone’s saying: ‘you’ve got HIV, we don’t want you here’.
“I had a doctor in Sydney assess my health and she said for someone with HIV my health couldn’t be any better.
“I don’t understand how you can’t standardise someone who has HIV but can with something like rheumatoid arthritis: they can be basically healthy, and that person is totally different to someone crippled in a wheelchair.”
After the case was raised by the Star Observer, Australian officials insisted the incident was an “administrative error” and that people with HIV are able to visit as tourists.
A spokesperson said the man would be contacted to “apologise and explain the details of the initial error made” – but he remained unconvinced by the excuse.
He said: “If it’s an error, well, then it feels a lot better. But of course who can guarantee that the same mistake won’t be made again?
“The immigration laws [are] crap.”