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US Should Lift HIV/AIDS-Related Travel Restrictions

Armen Hareyan's picture

Since 2003,the U.S. through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDSRelief has"extended a helping hand to" HIV-positive people living outside thecountry, Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) write in a Washington Times opinion piece.

"Unfortunately,as we open our wallets to fund lifesaving treatments to those living withHIV/AIDS overseas, we will not open our doors," the authors write, addingthat HIV is the "only medical condition that renders peopleinadmissible" to the U.S.The U.S. is "just oneof 12 countries" -- including Libya,Russia, Saudi Arabia and Sudan -- that "prohibit,almost without exception, HIV-positive noncitizens from entering thecountry," according to Kerry and Smith. They add that such a"discriminatory policy has no basis in public health, let alone commonsense."

According to the authors, they have introduced a bill that would "overturnthis unfair policy." There is "no excuse for a law that goes out ofits way to stigmatize a particular disease and separate parents from children,sisters from brothers, and people of all stripes from their work, travel anddreams of a better life," they add. "Actions matter," Kerry andSmith write, adding, "Leading by example in the fight against HIV/AIDS hasleft millions in the developing world grateful to America for our lifesavinghelp."

It is"time we sent the same message by finally ending our needlesslydiscriminatory laws penalizing those with HIV/AIDS," the authors conclude(Kerry/Smith, Washington Times, 6/25).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Reportis published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. KaiserFamily Foundation.