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Author Topic: Senate repeals HIV travel ban..about time!!!  (Read 7568 times)

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Offline pozattitude

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Senate repeals HIV travel ban..about time!!!
« on: July 25, 2008, 12:03:37 PM »
Senate repeals HIV travel ban
by Bob Roehr

The Senate on Wednesday, July 16 voted to repeal the HIV travel ban on an 80-16 vote.

The provision to repeal the travel ban was included in the reauthorization of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

Senators John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) and Gordon Smith (R-Oregon) led the effort to drop U.S. travel and immigration restrictions on persons who are HIV-positive that had been in place for decades. The Foreign Relations Committee agreed to that, but Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) vowed to reinstate the provisions.

The Congressional Budget Office had said that lifting the restrictions could cost the U.S. an estimated $83 million in additional medical costs over the next 10 years. A compromise increased the visa application fee by $1 and the immigration application fee by $2 to cover anticipated increased medical costs for a variety of illnesses. And Sessions was placated with a substitute amendment.

Michael Saag, vice chair of the HIV Medical Association, said, "It is gratifying to know that my HIV-positive colleagues from other countries will finally be allowed to come to the United States to share their expertise."

The Human Rights Campaign played a leading role in lobbying repeal of the travel ban.

"We applaud the Senate for rejecting this unjust and sweeping policy that deems HIV-positive individuals inadmissible to the United States," said Joe Solmonese, HRC president.

"Congress has finally moved to end the HIV ban – a ban based on myth and misinformation," said Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality. "For 20 years, the United States has barred HIV-positive travelers from entering the country even for one day. Today the Senate said loud and clear that AIDS exceptionalism must come to an end."

The ban originated in 1987, and explicitly codified by Congress in 1993, despite efforts in the public health community to remove the ban when Congress reformed U.S. immigration law in the early 1990s. While immigration law currently excludes foreigners with any "communicable disease of public health significance" from entering the U.S., only HIV is explicitly named in the statute. For all other illnesses, the secretary of Health and Human Services retains the ability, with the medical expertise of his department, to determine which illnesses truly pose a risk to public health.

POSITIVE PEDALERS... We are a group of people living with HIV/AIDS, eliminating stigma through our positive public example.

Offline Jody

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Re: Senate repeals HIV travel ban..about time!!!
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2008, 10:37:45 PM »
Great news Pozattitude !!!

I would like to think the efforts of so many good folks here may have contributed to this repeal.

Keep on truckin' everyone !!!

"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world".
 "Try to discover that you are the song that the morning brings."

Grateful Dead

Offline emeraldize

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Re: Senate repeals HIV travel ban..about time!!!
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2008, 01:59:32 AM »
This is almost as good as staying tuned in to CNN Headline News. Thanks for the update!

This particular issue was my first experience in HIV activism. And, I got to know Iggy and Gerry as a result.

I couldn't have known this last year, but it turns out the ban being lifted will favorably affect something I'm working on professionally. Hoo-rayyyyyyyy!

This is great news.

Offline gerry

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  • Joined AM Feb 2003
Re: Senate repeals HIV travel ban..about time!!!
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2008, 09:08:28 PM »
What a pleasant surprise after being away for some time!

Bush signed it into law last Wednesday!  Not only does this pave the way for repeal of the ban (it will now be up to HHS to remove HIV from the travel restrictions list), but it also re-formalizes the US' commitment to fight global AIDS.

President Bush Signs PEPFAR Reauthorization Bill

Thanks for the update.


Offline J.R.E.

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  • Joined Dec-2003 Living positive, since 1985.
Re: Senate repeals HIV travel ban..about time!!!
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2008, 06:52:19 AM »
What a pleasant surprise after being away for some time!


It's good to hear from you Gerry.  Don't be such a stranger !!!

Take care-----Ray
Current Meds ; Viramune, Epzicom, 20mg of Atorvastatin, 25 mg of Hydrochlorothiazide.
Amlodipine Besolate 5mg-- Updated 9/24/2017

Diagnosed positive in 1985,.. In October of 2003, My t-cell count was 16, Viral load was over 500,000, Percentage at that time was 5%. I started on  HAART on October 24th, 2003.

 As of 9/18/2017,  Viral load remains <40
CD 4 @358 /  CD4 % @ 13

 65 years young.

Offline bear60

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Re: Senate repeals HIV travel ban..about time!!!
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2008, 02:01:08 PM »
This the best news I've had in a long time.
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Senate repeals HIV travel ban..about time!!!
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2008, 11:25:10 PM »

Ban on HIV-positive visitors, immigrants continues: Federal officials mum on timetable to end policy

Washington Blade - August 8, 2008
Lou Chibbaro Jr.

A  Congressional Budget Office report suggests the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention favors lifting a 1987 regulation that bans HIV-positive people from visiting or settling in the United States.

The regulation remains in effect after President Bush signed a sweeping global AIDS bill July 30 that includes language repealing an immigration law that also barred HIV-positive visitors from the country.

"Based on information from the CDC, CBO expects that the agency would amend the regulations concerning communicable diseases to allow aliens with HIV or AIDS into the United States if [the global AIDS bill] were enacted," say the CBO report, which was released in April.

"CBO expects that the amended regulations would take effect at the beginning of fiscal year 2010," the report says.

The report, which provides a cost estimate for implementing the global AIDS bill, represents the only known document indicating the Bush administration's intensions on whether to retain or lift the remaining regulatory ban on HIV visitors and immigrants.

"It's certainly a positive sign," said Trevor Thomas, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign.

But Thomas said HRC remains concerned that, without an explicit, publicly announced decision by the Bush administration to lift the administrative ban, top officials at the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) might decide to leave it in place. The CDC is part of HHS.

In 1987, HHS used its existing legal authority to add HIV to a list of communicable diseases that disqualifies HIV-positive foreign nationals from entering the country. The 1987 regulation also disqualifies foreigners from being eligible to apply for permanent U.S. resident status as immigrants.

The global AIDS bill that Bush signed on July 30 allows the 1987 administrative ban to remain in effect unless HHS or one of its component agencies, such as the CDC, reverses the policy.

Spokespersons at the White House, HHS, and the CDC have declined to comment on the administration's plans for the administrative HIV visitor and immigrant ban, saying only that they are reviewing the matter.
"Ive slept with enough men to know that Im not gay"

Offline auspoz

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Re: Senate repeals HIV travel ban..about time!!!
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2008, 07:37:15 AM »
This means a hell of a lot to me. it was one of the first things I said I couldn't do now I am positive.

I only visited once and it was so cold I swore I'd go back again one day when I could enjoy it more.

Congratulations activists. We abroad do appreciate it.

Offline gerry

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  • Joined AM Feb 2003
Re: Senate repeals HIV travel ban..about time!!!
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2008, 02:38:54 PM »
Hello folks:

While I'm not anticipating any action regarding this matter for the duration of this election year, I just wanted to clarify that the ban is actually still in place in spite of the enacted bill.  As Philly mentioned, the authority to lift the ban now resides with the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  The "repeal" just paves the way for the Secretary to remove HIV from the list of communicable diseases that bans travelers into the US.

I'm assuming that at some point, more pressure would need to be exerted in order for HHS to move forward with striking HIV from this list.

HHS does have a mailing address made available through their website:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Telephone: 202-619-0257
Toll Free: 1-877-696-6775

The current secretary, Mike Leavitt, also has a blog which I hope will be continued by the next secretary under the new administration as it is quite easy to post responses to.

Just me thinking ahead...Comments encouraged...

P.S. Ray, good to see you, too.  Thanks.


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