President Obama announces end to HIV-positive immigration ban in the US

Simon Collins, HIV i-Base

On 2 November 2009, the US Department of Health and Human Services published final regulations that will remove HIV from its list of communicable diseases of public health significance and will remove the HIV test from the routine medical exam for lawful permanent resident applicants.

The regulations will go into effect on 4 January 2010, following a routine implementation period.

This was announced during the presidential press briefing for the fourth reauthorisation of the Ryan White CARE Act, and included the following statement:

“Twenty-two years ago, in a decision rooted in fear rather than fact, the United States instituted a travel ban on entry into the country for people living with HIV/AIDS. Now, we talk about reducing the stigma of this disease – yet we’ve treated a visitor living with it as a threat. We lead the world when it comes to helping stem the AIDS pandemic – yet we are one of only a dozen countries that still bar people from HIV from entering our own country. If we want to be the global leader in combating HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it. And that’s why on Monday, my administration will publish a final rule that eliminates the travel ban effective just after the New Year. Congress and President Bush began this process last year, and they ought to be commended for it. We are finishing the job. It’s a step that will encourage people to get tested and get treatment, it’s a step that will keep families together, and it’s a step that will save lives.” (Applause)

Source: Obama B. Press Statement “Remarks by the President at signing of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009. (30 October 2009). press-office/remarks-president-signing-ryan-white-hivaids-treatment-extension-act-2009

Related links:

Immigration resource with focus on HIV

Report on Kaiser Network 110209-HIV-Travel.aspx

IAS press release “IAS applauds White House announcement of repeal of the United States’ discriminatory and ineffective HIV entry and immigration ban”. (30 October 2009).

Global database on HIV travel restrictions

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.