An international HIV conference will be held in the US in 2012 – but only if the US removes its travel ban on HIV-positive travellers.
The International AIDS Society has announced that it will hold the International AIDS Conference in the US capital, Washington, D.C., if the travel ban is finally removed. No international HIV conference has been held in the US since 1990 because of the ban.
Since the Reagan presidency HIV-positive non-US citizens have been prohibited from entering the US.
“In recent years, the United States government’s leadership on HIV/AIDS has been unparalleled on the global stage”, said IAS President, Dr Julio Montaner. “This long-standing law, which is contrary to all scientific evidence and human rights principles, is one of the US’s weakest spots in HIV policy…it is time for the US to end the discriminatory ban on entry of foreigner living with HIV”, he added.
Legislation banning entry by HIV-positive travellers in all but exceptional circumstances was repealed in July 2008. However, earlier regulation prohibiting routine entry to the US for people with HIV still remain in place.
HIV-positive individuals must obtain a visa before visiting the US. The process for obtaining this documentation was recently streamlined, but it can still be lengthy and there have been reports of people with HIV having their visa applications turned down.
The US has pledged to finally remove the ban, but administrative bureaucracy has been cited as a reason for the delay in doing so.