Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted to lift the ban on individuals with HIV visiting/immigrating to the U.S. The U.S. is one of just 12 countries to have a ban on HIV visitors and HIV is the only disease specifically mentioned as a restricted disease in U.S. immigration law. The U.S. shares this law with countries such as Libya, Russia. Sudan and Saudi Arabia.
“There’s no excuse for a law that stigmatizes a particular disease,” said Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) in a recent speech to the Center for Strategic & International Studies HIV/AIDS Task Force. Kerry, a co-sponsor of the recent bill to lift the HIV travel ban, also pointed out that it can be easier for people with Ebola or the avian flu to enter the United States.
The current bill, also sponsored by Oregon Senator, Gordon Smith (R), would equate HIV with other communicable diseases. With those diseases, decisions regarding admissibility are made by medical and public health experts and not consular and immigration officials.