Current Affairs

US poised to lift HIV immigration ban

Stephen Gray September 23, 2009
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A memo has been released by the United States Customs and Immigrations Service which suggests the year-long wait for the HIV travel ban may be nearly over.

The CIS’s communication instructed employees working on green card applications that would be determined solely by the applicant’s HIV status to wait until the expected change in immigration rules.

Currently HIV qualifies as an exclusionary communicable disease, and applications may be turned down by the US authorities if a person wishing to travel to the country, or settle there permanently, is HIV positive.

The policy was overturned last year in what became known as the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde U.S. Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008, but the Bush administration did not enact the new rules before leaving office.

The Health and Human Services body published the regulations this summer, and is currently reviewing public comment.

Commentators have suggested that the pausing of green card applications which come down to the applicant’s HIV status is a strong indicator that the rule change will be implemented soon, and that HIV will be removed from the list of exclusionary communicable diseases.

Vishel Trivedi of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis said: “Once we’re confident that HHS will remove HIV from the list, we need to focus on more practical aspects of eliminating the vestiges of this discriminatory policy.”

The UK currently has no rules restricting HIV-positive immigrants and visitors.

More: Americas

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