Thursday, July 17, 2008

HIV Ban May End Soon

A shameful law that restricts people with HIV from visiting the U.S. may soon be repealed, according to a report in USA Today.

The U.S. remains a small handful of nations that bans visitors with HIV (including Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Russia). However, a Senate bill has been introduced that could change all that.

"[Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass]and Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., are trying to repeal the ban, first implemented in 1987 and confirmed by Congress in 1993...The Kerry-Smith provision would make HIV equivalent to other communicable diseases where medical and public health experts at the Health and Human Services Department — not consular officials at U.S. embassies — determine eligibility for admission."

It's high time that this embarrassing law be removed. I personally wasn't aware that this requirement still existed until recently. I remember years ago in college I was planning on visiting Russia, as part of a Russian language course. I noticed among their visa requirements that persons with HIV were not permitted to visit. I remember thinking, "this must be some terrible relic of the Soviet period." I was shocked to discover the ban on HIV visitors exists here as well. Let's hope the Senate provision passes! Stay tuned and we'll keep you updated.

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