End the HIV Travel Ban!

The U.S. remains one of only 13 nations in the world to ban HIV-positive travelers from entering the country.

The HIV ban, first enacted when homosexuality was grounds for barring entry to the U.S., is one of the ugliest remnants of discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS. While HIV is a serious health condition, it does not pose a significant threat through casual contact.

With your help, last year we succeeded in removing the ban from federal law. But even so, people are still being denied entry into the U.S. solely based on their HIV status. Now the policy is in the hands of President Obama's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Department of HHS has finally proposed lifting the ban and the proposal is now open for public comment.

Help the Administration end this unjust, unnecessary policy by signing the petition today to end the HIV travel ban!

Dear President Obama,

I am writing to urge the Department of Health and Human Services to adopt the Proposed Rule, published July 2, 2009, that would end the ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants to the United States.

The current regulation stigmatizes and discriminates against people living with HIV and AIDS without justification and has serious consequences on individuals, families and our nation. It separates loved ones, denies American businesses access to talented workers, and bars students and tourists from accessing opportunities and supporting our economy.

[Your comment will be inserted here]

Barring HIV-positive visitors and immigrants has no medical or public health rationale. In 1991, then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan, M.D. supported removing HIV from the list of "communicable disease[s] of public health significance" and told the New York Times that doing so would "bring us in line with the best medical thinking, here and abroad." Nearly two decades later, the best medical thinking continues to support ending this discriminatory policy. Major medical and public health groups, including the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization and the American Public Health Association, oppose this barrier for HIV-positive visitors and immigrants.

Contrary to its supposed purpose, the ban in fact undermines public health efforts, including the fight against HIV/AIDS, by keeping researchers, advocates and experts from even entering the country. For example in July 2009, a British health expert was kept from attending an international conference on tuberculosis in Seattle because he is HIV-positive. The ban also runs counter to our nation's long-standing leadership in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic internationally. No international conference on HIV/AIDS has been held on U.S. soil since 1990 because of our nation's discriminatory policy.

I urge you to adopt this proposed regulation and bring an end to this unjust, unnecessary ban.
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