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Bush proposal for HIV-positive visitors makes a bad rule worse
Date:12/6/2007

The Bush administrations proposed rule for waivers allowing some people with HIV to visit the United States is even more restrictive, burdensome, and arbitrary than the rule it is intended to replace, according to the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA). Furthermore, it does nothing to address a fundamental flaw in U.S. policy barring people with HIV from entering the United States.

The law denying entry to people with HIV has no basis in science or public health and should be repealed, said HIVMA Chair Arlene Bardeguez, MD, MPH, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. People with HIV have been barred from entering the United States since 1990, despite the fact that HIV infection is a manageable condition that is not transmitted through casual contact. Individual exceptions for short visits may be granted on a case-by-case basis, but only through an intrusive, stigmatizing, and unscientific waiver process.

On World AIDS Day last year, President Bush promised to revisit the waiver process. The appropriate remedy would be to repeal the law. Instead, what the administration has come up with does nothing to make the process easier and in some important ways makes matters worse.

The proposed rule imposes requirements on people with HIV that are not imposed on visitors with any other chronic medical condition such as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer: Visitors applying for a waiver need to demonstrate to a consular officer in their home country that their HIV infection is under control and will not require medical attention; that they have ample supplies of medicines for the duration of their trip; and that they have sufficient financial assets or insurance to cover any medical expenses that may arise. How a consular officer with limited or no knowledge of HIV disease is supposed to make determinations about the state of the applicants HIV infection or the adequacy of his or her dru
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Contact: Steve Baragona
sbaragona@idsociety.org
703-299-0412
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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