The US Senate has approved a bill that could repeal the discriminatory 1987 ban on HIV positive visitors or immigrants from entering the US unless they are granted a special short term waiver.

The measure is part of legislation which serves to reauthorize PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which will see billions of dollars being spent to fight HIV/AIDS around the world.

“We applaud the Senate for rejecting this unjust and sweeping policy that deems HIV-positive individuals inadmissible to the United States,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

US immigration law currently excludes foreigners with any “communicable disease of public health significance” from entering the US, but only HIV is explicitly named in the statute.

“The HIV ban is ineffective, unnecessary, and simply bad public health policy,” noted Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality. “It is especially harmful to gay and lesbian families, who do not benefit from the waiver available to opposite-sex couples.”

The bill, which represents the culmination of over a decade’s struggle by activists to repeal the travel ban, now awaits President Bush’s signature.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend