In Brief: United States Immigration
April 15, 2002
A British advocacy group, the Terrence Higgins Trust, has launched a campaign to change United States immigration policy restricting entry for those with HIV/AIDS. A 1990 law sponsored by Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) stipulates that individuals with HIV/AIDS cannot immigrate to the United States. It also stipulates that short-term visitors sign a waiver releasing the United States from health coverage, and it requires that visitors have sufficient health insurance to cover any medical conditions that may arise during their visit. Because British citizens do not have to have visas for visiting the United States, many travelers from Britain may not know of the immigration regulations until their planes touch down in an American airport. At that point, visitors are presented with forms that require them to declare their HIV status. Although one can lie, the large amount of medications most HIV-positive travelers carry with them makes that option an unwise one.
The American embassy in London has responded to the Terrence Higgins campaign by saying that the waiver is necessary because of public health concerns. The embassy also pointed out that HIV-positive individuals routinely enter the United States.
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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.