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Can I be deported because I have HIV?

Aug 31, 2013

Iam in illegal immigrant i came to the us already being positive i have alot of fear of being deported and what to do for getting meds where i have to buy them or how i can get them please i have alot fear im afraid of being deported if i searched for info .Ilive in Delaware

Response from Ms. Douaihy

Dear Writer,

Thank you for writing with such an important question. I have talked to many courageous people like yourself who are HIV positive and afraid to seek medical treatment because they are undocumented. I am inspired by your quest and hope that you can find relief you deserve. To answer your question, there is good news and bad news.

Let's start with the bad news. As a person who is in the US "illegally", you may be subject to removal (deportation) proceedings. Under immigration law, just by being present in the US without authorization makes you removable should immigration be aware of your presence. And because you lack authorization or immigration status, you are unfortunately ineligible for government-subsidized Medicaid. Medicaid is comprehensive health insurance only available to United States Citizens or qualified immigrants.

But here is the good news: (1) You cannot be deported solely on the basis of your HIV/AIDS status. Nor could your HIV/AIDS diagnosis alone prevent your application for immigration status for which you are otherwise eligible. (2) Depending on your factual circumstances you may be able to apply for some kind of immigration status. The rules are complicated and extremely fact-laden. So you should talk to an immigration attorney who can advise you about your rights.

(3) Something important to know is that non-immigrants may be provided with Medicaid coverage for treatment of an emergency medical condition only. And, one health program you may be eligible for as a non-citizen, depending on your factual circumstances, is the AIDS Drugs Assistance Program (ADAP). ADAP helps ensure that people living with HIV and AIDS who are uninsured or under-insured have access to medication. You have to meet income guidelines and be considered a state resident to qualify for ADAP.

I strongly advise you to connect with a local HIV/AIDS community based organization to learn about your options for health care and immigration relief. The state of Delaware has an HIV Consortium that includes an online resource guide to service providers.

You may also want to reach out to Immigration Equality. IE is an excellent legal services organization and national leader in advancing rights for HIV positive and LGBT immigrants.

And to learn more about what treatment options you may be eligible for, check out the below link to the "Health Resources and Services Administration" of the US government.

Good luck. Please continue to learn more about your rights and stay healthy and strong!

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