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What does PEPFAR's passing mean for HIV-positive immigration?

Aug 27, 2008

Dear Dr. Bob,

Now that Bush has signed the PEPFAR bill and the HIV ban on immigration has been eliminated, what does that mean for HIV-positive people hoping to get work visas or even green cards for the US? Will HHS lift HIV off it's list of prohibitive diseases?



Response from Dr. Frascino


Well, the law has been passed and Dubya signed it. However, Dubya has the nasty habit of not always following the law. Certainly, when Obama moves into the White House and we have a return to science-based policies and common sense, the ban will be promptly abolished. (See below for the latest news.)

Dr. Bob


Hi there,

I've taken the time to read everything i could find on this site re the travel ban on HIV'ers. However, I have not been able to get a clear answer to my question: what is the current stance on people with HIV wishing to make the US their permanent home? My partner, who has permanent residence status, will be my sponsor. We can get married in our country (South Africa), where same sex marriages are legally recognised, but I realise this means nothing under the US laws. I appreciate you takin the time to read this and hopefully give me an understanding as to what my options/ chances are.

Thank you for your continued effort in giving people answers and i'm sure in many cases, hope.


Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Albé,

Things are in a state of flux at the moment. Dubya signed a law on July 30 eliminating travel restrictions on HIV-positive foreigners entering the U.S. However, actually doing away with the Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) regulation may take a while and I'm guessing probably won't formally take effect until Obama is in the White House.

It's my understanding that DHHS may now be considering a potentially protracted process involving a number of steps, including a 90-day comment period, as the new regulations get posted in the Federal Register. Certainly, the advocacy community (and most of the world community as well!) is determined to press the administration to immediately start the process to lift the travel and immigration ban. But, personally, I wouldn't hold my breath. Certainly, when Obama takes the helm, this obnoxious and discriminatory anti-science and anti-common sense law will become history. Stay tuned! It will happen, eventually.

Dr. Bob

Hiv problems
Had unprotected sex with hiv positive woman

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