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Government Officials May Lift HIV Travel Ban

Foreigners who have HIV may be allowed to travel and immigrate to the United States under a plan proposed by federal health officials that will lift a 22- year-old ban on infected visitors.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are seeking public comment through August 17, 2009 on the proposal, which would remove HIV from the list of diseases that can bar entry to the county and do away with HIV testing as part of medical exams for permanent residence and, in some cases, travel visas.
“We’re trying to end the stigma and the discriminatory practice for a disease that doesn’t warrant exclusion for coming into this country”, said Dr. Martin Cetron, director of the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine. “We have to appreciate this is not a threat we face from abroad.”
While infectious disease experts and AIDS advocates are cheering this proposal on, immigration critics say they are leery of this proposal which could allow an average of 4,275 HIV-infected people into the country annually, with a lifetime medical cost of about $94 million for those admitted during the first year, according to the CDC estimates published in the June issue of the Federal Register. Others are concerned that HIV-positive visitors and immigrants will spread the disease.
As it stands now, HIV is among several diseases that require exclusion, including active tuberculosis, infectious gonorrhea, syphilis and infectious leprosy. Also on the lists are little-known sexually transmitted conditions such as chancroid, lymphogranuloma venereum or LGV, and granuloma inguinale. CDC officials said they may consider removing these conditions in the future, but wanted to move first to align health regulations with the new HIV statute.

For additional information see: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31910664/ns/health-aids/

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