January 4, 2010

January 4, 2010
US HIV Travel Ban Lifted

Thanks for stopping by to check out another day in my life. Today is Monday and I hope your week is off to a safe and happy start and you had a great weekend.

I am in Jacksonville this week and had to be up early this morning to get my four legged children to the groomer. They were overdue for a grooming because I have been on the road for most of the last five months. They look so much better now even though we had to groom them shorter than I would like because of matting.

It is also a great day for people living with HIV and AIDS outside the United States. See today, our country finally lifted the travel ban on non-American citizens who want to visit our great land.

President Obama has announced that all current restrictions affecting people with HIV from entering the United States will be lifted as of January 4, 2010. The final rule was published in the Federal Registry November 2, 2009. It stated: “As a result of this final rule, aliens will no longer be inadmissible into the United States based solely on the ground they are infected with HIV, and they will not be required to undergo HIV testing as part of the required medical examination for United States immigration.”

New instructions are being provided to panel physicians and civil surgeons who administer medical exams as for immigration purposes, but it may take time until they are all aware of the change, so residency seekers should be prepared. The revised instructions can be found here.

The Departments of Homeland Security and State still need to determine the process for those HIV positive residency seekers who have/had current applications pending that were filed under the old restrictions.

From January 4, 2010, people living with HIV can enter the United States like anybody else. Customs regulations require people entering with prescription medication like antiretroviral drugs to carry a doctor’s certificate in English, stating that the drugs are required to treat a personal condition. This requirement applies to all prescription drugs.

Medication should always be carried in hand luggage, as checked luggage may be delayed or get lost. If you are carrying on liquid medication exceeding 3 ounces / 100 ml, you must declare it at the checkpoint for inspection.

So why is this so important to me since I am already an American citizen?

I believe that people living with HIV/AIDS have the right to full enjoyment of their human rights, including the right to privacy, confidentiality and protection from stigma and discrimination. Short term travel policies of any country, in which disclosure of HIV status is required for prospective visitors, treat HIV positive people seeking entry on short term visas differently on the basis of their HIV positive status. These are not only discriminatory, but also contribute to fueling national and international stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS.

Those are my thoughts. What about yours? Drop me a line and let me know.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope and happiness.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab