U.S. receives first foreigners with AIDS after 22 years of veto

Armen Hareyan's picture

Having an HIV infection is no longer on the list of diseases to be reported when obtaining a U.S. visa. The new AIDS and HIV regulation adopted on November 2nd of 2009 became effective as of yesterday.

An organization, committed to repealing this ban, called Immigration Equality, considers this as a victory. Its executive director Rachel B. Tiven says she is thrilled to report that "after so many years of discrimination, the end is in sight."

Advocates say that the United States with this act now deals with HIV like a virus and not like a plague.

"We are very pleased with this change and celebrate the fact that United States has joined the list of countries dealing with HIV like a virus and not a plague, "said Victoria Neilson EFE, organization's legal director. Many advocates have welcome the U.S. for joining the list of countries recognizing HIV as a disease.


The U.S. president, Barack Obama, announced the end of the ban on October 30th. The ban was based on fear, rather than facts. There are twelve countries that prohibit AIDS patient entry. U.S. until this day was one of them. This measure has prevented the United States to hold any major HIV or AIDS international conference on its soild for about two decades.

Now the U.S. capital Washington D.C. prepares to host the World Conference on AIDS in 2012.

The HIV entry ban was imposed in 1987. This was an era in which people knew little about the syndrome and its treatment had not reached the level of efficiency as it is today.

The measure to repel the process started already during the mandate George W. Bush (2000-2008), when the Immigration Service announced it had lifted the ban in its regulations internally. "Congress and President Bush began this process during the past year and should be applauded for it. We just finished the work," Obama recalled last October.

People who have immigration cases affected because of HIV or AIDS, should visit the special HIV Ban information site, setup by Immigration Equality to consult their questions.


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