August 18, 2009
New York, N.Y. -- After over twenty years of barring people living with HIV from traveling or immigrating to the United States, the federal government is one step closer to getting this baseless, discriminatory law off the books, according to comments submitted yesterday by Lambda Legal to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Lambda Legal's letter supports the CDC's proposed 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 because the restrictions are discriminatory, violate basic human rights, and cannot be justified on public health grounds. The letter also asserts that lifting the ban will reduce the stigma faced by people living with HIV.
Said Scott Schoettes, HIV Project Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal:
"Lambda Legal strongly urges the CDC to move swiftly to finalize and implement the proposed regulations, thereby ending the discriminatory and disgraceful HIV travel and immigration ban and allowing the United States to more fully assume its role as a leader in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. Adoption of these rules 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. The United States 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 equal rights 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."