Ban on HIV/AIDS Travelers is Discrimination

July 24, 2008 12:00 am

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ACLU urges Congress to treat HIV/AIDS like other communicable diseases as part of PEPFAR Washington, DC – Today the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill to reauthorize the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program, a presidential initiative to combat the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. Since the House is taking up the Senate bill, it will go straight to the president for signature. The American Civil Liberties Union strongly supports a PEPFAR provision ending the ban on HIV-positive travelers and immigrants and opposes any efforts on the House floor to strike this provision.

The following can be attributed to Joanne Lin, ACLU Legislative Counsel:

“HIV/AIDS is singled out in our laws as a basis for barring visitors and immigrants to the United States. Congress should treat HIV/AIDS like other diseases.

“The ban on HIV/AIDS travelers is discrimination plain and simple. Ignorance gave the 20-year discriminatory ban on HIV/AIDS travelers its longevity. Now we know better. The ban serves no other purpose than to stigmatize people. We need to update our policies to reflect the latest science.”

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