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Thursday, September 24, 2009

...home of the brave...?

What rock have I been under? This was news to me; rather bad and distasteful news at that. A memo has been released by the United States Customs and Immigrations Service which suggests the year-long wait for the HIV travel ban may be nearly over.

The CIS's communication instructed employees working on green card applications that would be determined solely by the applicant's HIV status to wait until the expected change in immigration rules.

Currently HIV qualifies as an exclusionary communicable disease, and applications may be turned down by the US authorities if a person wishing to travel to the country, or settle there permanently, is HIV positive. Would hate to think we as Americans would permit a door such as this to be opened toward those who are looking to visit or nation. What's to stop the government from prohibiting citizens from traveling outside of America.

What is to stop other ally nations from prohibiting us as americans from traveling to tourist destinations and the like? This truly is not the way to go so I'm glad to know that this is not only under review, but is to be removed from the exclusionary list.

The policy was overturned last year in what became known as the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde U.S. Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008, but the Bush administration did not enact the new rules before leaving office.
The Health and Human Services body published the regulations this summer, and is currently reviewing public comment.

Commentators have suggested that the pausing of green card applications which come down to the applicant's HIV status is a strong indicator that the rule change will be implemented soon, and that HIV will be removed from the list of exclusionary communicable diseases.

Vishel Trivedi of the Gay Men's Health Crisis said: "Once we’re confident that HHS will remove HIV from the list, we need to focus on more practical aspects of eliminating the vestiges of this discriminatory policy."

Europe and the UK currently have no rules restricting HIV-positive immigrants and visitors.