July 1, 2009
New York -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced it will issue proposed new rules that would lift the HIV travel and immigration ban by removing HIV from the list of communicable diseases of public health significance for immigrants to the United States.
Scott Schoettes, HIV Project Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal said:
"We applaud HHS for fulfilling its mandate and announcing it will issue tentative new rules to once and for all eliminate the regulation that has prevented people living with HIV from visiting and immigrating to this country.
"We are thrilled to hear that these proposed rules will be published. Adoption of these rules after the public comment period will ensure that people living with HIV will no longer face this type of stigma and discrimination from our government."
"Once these rules are finalized, U.S. policy will reflect the broad consensus among the scientific, medical and public health communities that admission of individuals living with HIV into the U.S. does not present a threat to the public health of this country nor pose any danger to its citizens.
"By seeing that these rules are enacted as proposed, the Obama Administration will complete the process initiated by Congress and endorsed by President Bush last summer when legislation was enacted returning to HHS the authority to remove HIV from the list of communicable diseases of public health significance. The U.S. will join the vast majority of countries across the world that do not restrict the travel and immigration rights of people living with HIV.
"Lambda Legal looks forward to the day, in the very near future, when people living with HIV have the equal right to enter this country to visit or immigrate, and we welcome the change that will end the discriminatory policy that has been in place for over twenty years."