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Press Release

President Obama to Lift HIV Travel Ban: Lambda Legal Says Good Riddance to Bad Policy

"... as the government sheds this discriminatory practice, we hope that other discriminatory laws and policies will soon be eliminated."

October 30, 2009

New York -- Today President Obama announced that the administration will publish a new rule on Monday that will 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.  Lambda Legal has provided legal analysis and formal comments on numerous occasions urging the government to end the discriminatory ban that has been in place for over 20 years.

The U.S. will join the vast majority of countries around the world that do not restrict the travel and immigration rights of people living with HIV.

Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director of Lambda Legal said:

"We applaud the Obama Administration for its leadership in ending this kind of government sponsored discrimination against people living with HIV. The 22-year ban was discriminatory, violated basic human rights, and could not be justified on public health grounds.

"U.S. policy will finally reflect the broad consensus among the scientific, medical and public health communities that admission of individuals living with HIV into the U.S. as visitors or immigrants does not present a threat to the public health of this country nor pose any danger to its citizens.

"It's long past time to end the stigma and discrimination that people with HIV face in this country. The government should never be in the business of discriminating, and as the government sheds this discriminatory practice, we hope that other discriminatory laws and policies will soon be eliminated."

Last year, Congress repealed the statutory language barring people with HIV.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the proposed rules late this summer and after a period of public comment have approved the new rules that eliminate the ban.

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This article was provided by Lambda Legal. Visit Lambda Legal's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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