Canada Reverses ban on entry of HIV-positive immigrants

In a “dramatic reversal,” the Canadian federal government is revoking a plan to ban entry of HIV-positive immigrants, the Toronto Star reports. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan announced the decision Tuesday after Health Minister Allan Rock submitted a letter recommending that the ban should be reversed.

Rock wrote, “An inflexible policy of excluding all immigrants who test positive would not reflect the nature of the risk nor our capacity to minimize it.” He noted that HIV “is not transmitted through casual contact,” and its spread “can be slowed down.” While Canada still plans to require HIV tests for all prospective immigrants, the tests will aim to ensure that immigrants receive the “proper treatment when they arrive in Canada.” Rock added, “One of the objectives of our domestic HIV/AIDS strategy is to eliminate the stigma that too often attaches to those living with HIV.”

The Star notes that some HIV-positive immigrants may “still face barriers to entering Canada,” and the immigration department could “still argue that an independent immigrant with AIDS could pose an excessive demand on Canada’s health care system and should be barred from entry” (Thompson, Toronto Star, 12/06).

Source: Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Reports

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