Monday, September 29, 2008

Obstacles Still Preventing HIV-Positive Visitors Into U.S

Although President Bush signed a bill that would end the ban on HIV-positive travelers and immigrants coming to the U.S., the Health and Human Services Department, responsible for writing new rules allowing positive travelers into the country, has yet to move on the issue.

“We’re working hard to revise the regulation, and it’s our goal to have it completed during this administration,” said Health and Human Services spokeswoman Holly Babin.

The United States, normally regarded as a country leading the fight for equality and fairness, instead finds itself on the sidelines with a dozen or so repressive countries such as Libya, Sudan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, by banning travel and immigration for people with HIV. All other countries in the world have no such ban.

Several house Democrats submitted a letter to Bush demanding swift action to remove the HIV travel and immigration ban. “Congress has sent a clear signal that we can’t fight discrimination and stigma aboard until we end it at home,” said Victoria Neilson, legal director of Immigration Quality. “Congress has done its part – it’s time for HHS to act.”