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HIV Positive Outsiders Banned From America

People living with HIV are banned from traveling to twelve countries, including Armenia, Colombia, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sudan, the United States and Yemen.

China just lifted its ban, as a result of pre-Olympic human rights pressure. Yesterday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon urged these nations to change their immigration laws — which "uphold stigma and discrimination" — during a major summit on HIV/AIDS.

Andrew Sullivan forcefully advocated for a removal of the discriminatory ban, in a recent Washington Post op-ed. He pointed out that not even leprosy or tuberculosis is considered grounds for inadmissibility to the US. Sullivan wrote about 1993, when Congress wrote the ban into law:

It was when I, a legal immigrant, became infected. With great lawyers, a rare O visa (granted to individuals in the arts and sciences), a government-granted HIV waiver and thousands of dollars in legal fees, I have managed to stay in the United States. Nonetheless, because I am HIV-positive, I am not eligible to become a permanent resident.

Sullivan, a conservative political commentator, explained that every year he must leave the country to reapply for the waiver. Even though he has lived in and paid taxes to the US for almost 25 years, he and his family must face the insecurity that he may not be allowed back. For further discussion,


Since there are already Americans living with HIV, it is unnecessary to "quarantine" this country. In addition, every visitor or immigrant is required to provide private health insurance for 10 years after being admitted. Sullivan notes that tax dollars contributed by qualified HIV-admitees would outdo any cost.

As an American, it's always eye opening to examine the face my country presents to outsiders. What does this ban say about America? What does it say to fellow-Americans already living with HIV, when we make their condition the only medical condition that legally prevents someone from stepping foot in our country?


Join The Conversation
gitsie123 gitsie123 9 years
It is obvious that Undave does not know the difference between HIV and AIDS. HIV is treatable and does not mean you will die and thanks to many drugs that help treat HIV/AIDS the symptoms are not visible. So, you can't really tell who has the disease. If you ban someone with HIV/AIDS from the US on the basis that "they might knowingly infect others" is annoying. So basically you assume that all people who have HIV are out there waiting to infect people.
Lawrah Lawrah 9 years
I agree with UnDave. This is a GLOBAL issue. People in other countries are not afforded the education us Americans have had in regards to safe sex. Honestly, if you do the research, many people who come over to these affected countries have a hard time educating the locals about safe sex practices, mainly because they do not have the knowledge of what a condom is or can barely afford food much less condoms or contraceptives. Yes, people here in the united states and other well off countries have access to medical care and drugs to combat the disease but in other parts of the world, its just not a viable option.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I am a little late to the party, but the post about UnDave humping everything is hysterical! ;) :bananana:
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Now I know why I don't like that little China girl, because she can work two sticks at once and I can't.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Yeah, and you're gonna be diamond with all the post you're doing for your victory lap. :pucca: Congratulations
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
I turned Platinum!!! :dance:
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
That's fine MM. We can agree to disagree on this. I don't necessarily like being on any list with those other nations, but just because we are on the list doesn't make it a bad idea.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
:oy: I will never understand where you're coming from, UnDave. I don't see how denying someone with a disease entry into this country is in any way going to stop the spread of that disease. It's unfair and imo, prejudice. Agreeing with another's comments above, the list of countries who include this ban in their immigration law is enough to want to be removed from the list.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
But a simple blood test will show that they are HIV positive. We can't test for everything, but the precautions we can take, we should :)
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I mean I cannot stop these people from knowingly spreading the disease. Of course I can do something about it personally.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
You can do plenty about it. Namely: don't have unprotected sex. I'd say that's a fairly simple thing to do. The fact that they "appeared" regular was my point when I mentioned how many people may "appear" regular that don't have medical issues, UnDave. That's why I see it as a non-issue.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Its also a shame that you cant do anything about it. its frustrating.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
How sad. It's a shame that people can have that sort of mentality.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I can say that i know of some people who have HIV/AIDS, and they knowingly have unprotected sex, i have even heard one of them say "if i have it they will have it". (through my work, not anyone i personally know)
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I was replying to your comment about "I don't see a regular person with a disease doing something like that... which is exactly why they shouldn't be denied citizenship based on that alone." These two men appeared regular.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
They were murderers, UnDave. The same way a person with a gun is a murderer. I don't see the relevance to this topic of conversation. So EVERY person with HIV is grouped in with these two?
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
MM - in the mid 80's (the height of the HIV scare), two men were convicted of murder for having unprotected sexual encounters, even thought they knew they were infected. Their reasoning, "We want to take as many as we can with us."
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I have to agree with UnDave, and immigrants who landed on ellis island and were sick? were sent home.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I guess that is a way you can interpret that.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
Dang, UnDave, you're on a roll of negativity today. Going about infecting people on purpose would, imo, be a wee bit mentally unstable. I don't see a regular person with a disease doing something like that... which is exactly why they shouldn't be denied citizenship based on that alone.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I agree that life is guaranteed death. That death does not need to be made sooner because someone catches a disease that is incurable. Erving Johnson is sick. Every girl he was intimate with (after he contracted HIV) is probably sick as well. He has the enefit of being rich enough and in extremely good health, that he will be able to fight for a very long time.
stephley stephley 9 years
Sadly, that would be: "The wretched refuse of your teeming shore"
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I notice nowhere that it says: "Bring me your deathly ill, your infected and contageous."
stephley stephley 9 years
Life is guaranteed death U.D. How many people have died of things that should have been curable since Magic Johnson announced he was HIV positive? Do you look at him and think 'he's sick'?
NYFashionista NYFashionista 9 years
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -Let's not forget this quote on our Statue of Liberty Oh how things so quickly change once we become a Superpower....
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