US HIV/AIDS travel ban lifted

US HIV/AIDS travel ban lifted

[JURIST] A US rule [text] ending a policy prohibiting people with HIV or AIDS from entering the country went into effect on Monday. The decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [official website] to remove HIV from its list of communicable diseases of public significance ended [BBC report] the 22-year-old ban. When the rule was published in November, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius [official website] said [press release], "[t]he ability to travel freely and have access to affordable health care should be available to everyone. This change has been a long time coming, and I am pleased it is happening now." Clemens Ruland, a Netherlands native, is expected to be the first HIV-positive visitor [Fyne Times report] since the ban was lifted when he lands in New York Monday.

The US had been one of only about a dozen countries that ban travelers with HIV or AIDS. In October, a report indicated China was considering lifting its ban [JURIST report] against travelers with HIV or AIDS. In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) [official website] relaxed restrictions [JURIST report] on issuing visas to HIV-positive applicants. Also in 2008, the US removed a statutory restriction [text] on issuing visas to HIV-positive foreigners.