Waymon Hudson

Congress to review ban on travelers with HIV

Filed By Waymon Hudson | March 25, 2008 4:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics, Politics
Tags: HIV/AIDS, Immigration

The Senate is expected to debate the ban on HIV+ travelers this month as part of Bush's global AIDS relief package. The United States remains one of only 13 nations -- including Iraq, Qatar and Armenia -- to ban HIV+ foreign visitors and immigrants.

The U.S. has faced harsh criticism internationally for having one of the most restrictive immigration policies for HIV+ foreigners. It prompted a boycott of the U.S. by prominent AIDS advocacy and research groups, which have not held a major international conference in the U.S. since the early 1990s.

Even if Congress removes the anti-HIV language from the immigration law, it would fall to Health and Human Services to decide whether HIV should remain on the list of diseases that bar entry to the U.S., which include tuberculosis, leprosy and gonorrhea.

According to U.S. State Department statistics, 938 immigration applicants were denied admission to the U.S. in 2007 because they had a communicable disease. The U.S. does not require HIV tests for all foreign visitors -- only for people planning to immigrate permanently. However, short-term visitors are asked in the visa application process whether they have a communicable disease. People who don't disclose their status have been known to be stopped in customs when found with HIV meds and refused entry.

Bush has said he supports the ban remaining in place, even though he recently got a special waiver for Tatu Msangi, a nurse and single mother from Tanzania, from this horrific ban just to parade her as an example of how much they care during his last State of the Union.

I hope Congress and HHS have the intelligence to end this draconian and bias-based ban that is used to keep hundreds of HIV+ individuals from visiting the U.S. every year. Bigoted bans like this only further serve to instill misinformation and fear about people living with HIV. Getting rid ot it is long overdue.

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I knew about the immigration ban, but I had no idea HIV+ individuals couldn't even visit the US. That is so fucking stupid!

While we're at it, how is it that some dude with TB can get on a plane and fly all over the place without being stopped, but someone with HIV can't travel to the US? TB is airborne. HIV isn't. WTF?

The ban was put forward by Jesse Helms way back in the day and has remained strictly enforced. WTF indeed, Serena.

It's about damn time. This is a no-brainer.

Well we All know that Only Queers have HIV, so we have to keep them homos out of this god fearing country!!!

Ouch, now my sarcasm meter broke from overload.

For some reason, bush keeps pandering to the religious kooks in this country, guess he is looking to his "legacy" or something. This will just be another in the long line of vetos that play to the 'god squad' base.

Stupidity is the only communicable disease Bush and Co need to worry about spreading. They've been perpetuating a MF plague for the past 8 years.