Monday, June 30, 2008

Help Reverse the US Government's Discriminatory HIV Travel Ban

The following text is from a letter at the site of advocating for the lift of the US travel ban on HIV infected individuals. I hope you will join me in writing to your US Senator to ask them why HIV has been singled out for a travel ban and to urge them to vote to end this disgraceful and discriminatory restriction. If you agree that this ban should be lifted, please visit the site linked above and fill in the required information to send a letter to your US Senator.

The United States is one of only 12 nations in the world to automatically ban HIV-positive visitors from entering the country. Our peers: Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Sudan, Qatar, Brunei, Oman, Moldova, Russia, Armenia, and South Korea.

HIV is the only medical condition that permanently precludes admission. Not even leprosy and tuberculosis are grounds for exclusion. Only a record of terrorism, tax evasion, money laundering or child smuggling has the same effect.

This law, which is in violation of UN standards, has absolutely no medical rationale or basis in health policy. It is a discriminatory holdover from the AIDS panic two decades ago. Thousands of immigrants to this country live in constant fear of unjust deportation. Forcing them underground, where they cannot get treated openly for fear of discovery, only worsens the health risk and cost to society.

Now we finally have a chance to take this absurd phobia off the books. The Senate version of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) reauthorization bill includes language that removes the statutory ban. There is bipartisan support but little political will. Urge your senators to demonstrate some leadership and bring this matter to a vote. Too many people have been denied the American dream for too long.



Blogger Ann said...

Thank you for highlighting this important but little-known issue. It's a real disgrace. As someone who represents immigrants with HIV, I can assure you that although there's a waiver of the HIV-ban available, most immigrants with HIV do not qualify for the waiver. So we really need the law changed.

7/08/2008 05:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Sam Gregory said...

I've been reading your blog in advance of AIDS2008 Conference. I am writing from WITNESS, a human rights organization that uses video and online technologies to bring awareness of international human rights violations. Our latest initiative is the Hub (, a participatory website for human rights media and action. On the Hub we will be focusing on the issue of HIV/AIDS through the duration of the conference.
Here are some ways you could participate:
1. Provide a Guest Blog (
2. Embedding media from the Hub onto your blog:
3. Join the Hub:

I'd be happy to provide more detail, just wanted to keep this comment short. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. Keep up the great work!

Look forward to hearing from you and having you share your thoughts with the Hub Community.

Sam Gregory
Program Director, WITNESS

7/22/2008 03:08:00 PM  

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