Congress is set to include the HIV Non-Discrimination in Travel and
Immigration Act in the President's PEPFAR emergency plan for AIDS relief. The measure, sponsored by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) in the Senate and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) would repeal the ban on immigration for HIV+ individuals.
The measure has drawn the praise of many groups:
Physicians for Human Rights and the Human Rights
Campaign both hailed the attachment of the Kerry-Smith bill to PEPFAR.
""We welcome language in the PEPFAR
Reauthorization bill that would lift the ban on travel to the US for people with
HIV," said John Bradshaw of the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Physicians
for Human Rights.
"More than 700 doctors, nurses, and
public health experts recently wrote the government asking them to overturn this
ban. It clearly violates the human rights of people with HIV and has
stigmatized them for 15 years. It's time for the U.S. to treat visitors living
with HIV with dignity, as other countries do. There have never been public
health grounds for denying people living with AIDS admission to the United
States, and there are none now," said Bradshaw, from Washington.
"The time is long overdue to repeal this
unjust and sweeping policy that deems HIV positive individuals inadmissible to
the United States,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "This law
emerged out of fear and stigma, and there remains no public health rationale for
treating HIV more harshly than other communicable diseases. We salute the
leadership of Senators Kerry and Smith and urge Congress to end this draconian
Only 13 countries are left that have such a ban.
Hat tip to reader F. for sending this link.