On November 2, 2009, the Obama administration finalized a proposed regulation to overturn the regulations that for the past 22 years have prevented individuals with HIV from receiving visas to travel or immigrate to the U.S. NHF and the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) have long advocated for the removal of this discriminatory ban with congressional leaders and the Departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security. The implementation of this final rule is an important step forward for the international bleeding disorders community.
“If we want to be a global leader in combating HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it,” said President Obama. U.S. legislators, international health officials and consumer health advocates have expressed satisfaction and relief about the ruling.
Effective on January 4, 2010, HIV will be removed from the list of diseases that block admission to the U.S. Further, testing for HIV will no longer be required as part of the visa application.
“We think this is going to give a very positive image of where the United States is going in terms of eliminating stigma and discrimination in relation to HIV,” said Dr. Socorro Gross, assistant director of the Pan American Health Organization.
“We’re thrilled that the ban has been lifted based on science, reason, and human rights,” said Kevin Robert Frost, CEO of amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. “Our hope is that this decision reflects a commitment to adopting more evidence-based policies when confronting the AIDS epidemic and developing a comprehensive national AIDS strategy.”
Click here to read the joint letter that NHF and WFH submitted on the proposed rule. Click here to see the final rule.
Source: The New York Times, October 31, 2009 POZ (online) new release dated October 30, 2009