Pepfar WatchDigg This!
As you know, President Bush recently signed into law H.R. 5501, the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008 (PL 110-293), which reauthorized the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) at $48 billion over five years. In reauthorizing this legislation, Congress voted to eliminate the federal law that banned non-U.S.citizens living with HIV and AIDS from entering the United States, whether as visitors or immigrants. This is an important first step in restoring the human rights and dignity of people living with HIV and AIDS that were compromised by the ban.However, HIV still appears on the list of “communicable diseases of public health significance” that automatically prohibits entry into the United States. The Administration has the power to remove HIV from this list, which would allow for the full elimination of restrictions on travel and immigration for people living with HIV and AIDS who wish to enter the U.S.
For the last 20 years, U.S. law has prohibited HIV-positive non-citizens from entering the United States, violating their human rights and perpetuating stigma and discrimination. The law, driven by fear and stigma, was written at a time when many people had little understanding of how HIV is transmitted and when homosexuality was still grounds for inadmissibility to the U.S. (Gay Men’s Health Crisis). Under the travel ban, all HIV-positive travelers seeking to enter the U.S. must undergo an onerous waiver process that can dissuade people – including activists seeking to inform U.S. policy – from even trying.
We urge you to contact your Representative to endorse a Dear Colleague letter urging the Administration to completely eliminate the discriminatory travel ban. Click here to take action!
Thank you for contacting Congress and for spreading the word! For more information about U.S. restrictions on HIV-related travel and immigration, click here.
Advocacy and Outreach Associate
Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)