Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Senate to debate lifting ban on HIV-positive visitors to U.S.


(03-25) 04:00 PDT Houston - --

Despite contributing millions to the international conflict against AIDS, the United States stays one of lone 13 states - including Iraq, State Of Qatar and Republic Of Armenia - to ban HIV-positive foreign visitants and immigrants.

Populace wellness functionaries and advocators are calling on the U.S. authorities to raise the long-standing travel prohibition for aliens with HIV, calling it Draconian and politically motivated.

United States Congress looks to be listening. The Senate is expected to debate the prohibition this calendar month as portion of President Bush's popular, planetary acquired immune deficiency syndrome alleviation package.

The United States have faced rough unfavorable judgment internationally for having one of the most restrictive in-migration policies for HIV-positive foreigners, particularly in comparing with other Western nations. Under U.S. law, aliens with human immunodeficiency virus are not permitted to immigrate to the United States, or even see temporarily, unless they measure up for narrowly defined waivers.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed an amendment this calendar month to the $50 billion acquired immune deficiency syndrome support measure that would tag the first measure toward lifting the ban, which dates to 1987. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, have sponsored a House version of the amendment.

Some public wellness and human rights advocators said the ban's abrogation is overdue.

"There is no scientific footing whatsoever for the traveling ban, and there never have been," said Dr. Mark Kline, caput of retrovirology at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and manager of the school's acquired immune deficiency syndrome International Training and Research Program. "It was a political decision."

The prohibition have damaged the country's reputation, critics say. It prompted a boycott by outstanding acquired immune deficiency syndrome advocacy and research groups, which have got not held a major international conference in the United States since the early 1990s.

"It's kind of awkward when we're one of lone 13 states in the human race that doesn't let visitants to come up who are HIV-positive," said Toilet Nechman, a Houston in-migration lawyer who specialises in in-migration lawsuits involving HIV-positive clients. "And we're talking about Sudan, Iraq, Saudi Arabian Arabian Peninsula - some pretty despotic countries of the world."

Under federal law, the U.S. secretary of Health and Person Services have the discretion to find what represents a "communicable diseases of public wellness significance" that would debar a foreigner from entering the United States. The federal wellness federal agency now names eight diseases - including HIV, tuberculosis, Hansen's disease and gonorrhoea - as footing for denying admittance as a tourer or immigrant.

The federal wellness federal agency added HIV/AIDS to the listing in 1987, prompting recoil from the international acquired immune deficiency syndrome community. In 1991, wellness federal agency functionaries proposed lifting the prohibition on people with human immunodeficiency virus and other sexually transmitted diseases, which led to protestations by conservatives.

In 1993, United States Congress took discretion over acquired immune deficiency syndrome admittances away from wellness federal agency officials, passing statute law that specifically banned people with human immunodeficiency virus under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

According to U.S. State Department statistics, 938 in-migration appliers were denied admittance to the United States in 2007 because they had a communicable disease. However, of those applicants, 478 were later allowed entry after receiving releases from the federal government. State Department spokesman Steven Royster said there was no dislocation of applicants' diseases available.

The United States makes not necessitate human immunodeficiency virus diagnostic tests for all foreign visitants - only for people planning to immigrate permanently. However, short-term visitors are asked in the visa application procedure if they have got a communicable disease.

St Martin Rooney, a 47-year-old HIV-positive activistic from Surrey, British People Columbia, was turned away Nov. Seventeen at the Peace Arch port of entry on the northern boundary line with Canada. At the port, a U.S. Customs and Boundary Line Protection inspector saw Rooney's Canadian medical disablement card, he said, leading to inquiries about his human immunodeficiency virus status.

Rooney said he was detained, fingerprinted and checked against an Federal Bureau of Investigation database before being told to go back to Canada and use for an human immunodeficiency virus waiver. He have not been back to the United States since.

"This have been a major, major inconvenience," he said. "I absolutely cannot make a darn thing in the U.S. now."

Helen Of Troy Kennedy, executive manager director of Egale Canada, which recommends for gay, lesbian, bisexual person and transgender Canadians, said the human immunodeficiency virus traveling prohibition is harmful.

"I cognize of a batch of people who have got been turned away because they are HIV-positive," she said. "It promotes us to travel additional in the closet. It make people lie on their forms, and that is not something we desire to do. I believe it's clock - beyond time, actually, to have got the prohibition lifted. Bans on human immunodeficiency virus travellers

The United States is one of 13 states with a law that prohibitions traveling and in-migration for people with HIV. The others:

-- Republic Of Armenia

-- Negara Brunei Darussalam

-- People'S Republic Of China (although the state have proposed lifting its ban)

-- Republic Of Iraq

-- State Of Qatar

-- South Korean Peninsula

-- Socialist People'S Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

-- Republic Of Moldava

-- Sultanate Of Oman

-- Russian Federation

-- Saudi Arabian Arabian Peninsula

-- Republic Of The Sudan

Source: Houston History

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