Connecticut HIV/AIDS activists are joining their national counterparts in asking the federal government to finally lift the U.S travel ban on foreigners living with HIV.
Last July, President Bush signed a law that authorized the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to lift the travel ban. Yet almost a year later, the DHHS hasn't changed its regulations. Instead the federal government has a number of steps in place to streamline the process that allows foreigners who are HIV positive to visit the country. Shawn Lang is with the CT AIDS Resource Coalition and Board President of the National AIDS Housing Coalition.
"The process is so unbelievably onerous for people to be coming into this country. I think it really brings to the forefront that HIV stigma is still alive and well."
The issue has come up recently because of a group of 60 Canadians with HIV who are planning to attend a Housing and Research summit in Washington D.C. this week. Lang says they may not make it to the conference because of several requirements they must meet. She says they were notified of the steps just one week before the conference was to begin.
"They have to disclose their HIV status, agree to a face to face interview, spend an extra $131 dollars from a specific Canadian bank, and get a stamp that doesn't disclose their HIV status on their passport, but there's a different stamp that gets put on their passport."
According to the National AIDS Housing Coalition, the Dept of Health and Human Services has submitted a proposed rule to remove the travel ban from its regulations but it's still subject to a comment period before the regulation can be changed.