Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

End to U.S. Ban on HIV-Positive Travelers?

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

End to U.S. Ban on HIV-Positive Travelers?

Article excerpt

Members of Congress are trying to repeal a section of U.S. law that bars HIV-positive immigrants or foreign visitors from entering the country unless they get a special waiver. Those waivers usually are granted (or denied) on a case-by-case basis, though the Department of Homeland Security has the power to grant blanket waivers at its discretion, as it did for HIV-positive participants in the 2006 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS.

HIV was classified as a "communicable disease of public health significance" in an amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act that President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1993. That designation makes simply having HIV grounds for being denied a U.S. visa. The amFAR (Foundation for AIDS Research) website notes that this law makes the United States "one of only 13 countries with laws restricting entry by people with HIV." The other countries include Armenia, Brunei, China (which plans to reform its law), Iraq, the Russian Federation, and Saudi Arabia.

Rep. Barbara Lee of California and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts are sponsoring the HIV Nondiscrimination in Travel and Immigration Act of 2007, a bill that would reverse that amendment. …

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