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Pardes Yehuda: United States to revise policy towards foreign visitors infected with AIDS

Sunday, August 10, 2008

United States to revise policy towards foreign visitors infected with AIDS

Many have been unaware that since the AIDS epidemic broke out in the 1980s, the United States has had a policy banning visitors infected with the virus.

That is set to change. George Bush signed into law a bill that accords $48 billion to fight AIDS worldwide, and will also change the ban on infected visitors into the US.

While the law effectively ends the ban on visitors with AIDS and HIV, it does not altogether reverse it, as the diseases are still included on the Departments of Health and Human Services list of "communicable diseases." A "communicable" disease is an infectious illness that is easily spread in public. AIDS, of course, is NOT a communicable disease.

Yet, Bush's bill creates the groundwork to remove AIDS from this list. Removing the immune disorder from the list of communicable diseases will bring further truth to the struggle of AIDS patients and will also endow the public to better understand the nature of AIDS.

While the new federal law does not remove the HHS restrictions, it does finally provide free entrance into the United States. In the words of an AIDS advocate responding to the new bill:
"Today everyone knows that you can't get AIDS from sitting next to someone on an airplane or sharing a bathroom -- American policy should reflect this,"

This new funding bill allows that for that policy change to be implemented across the board.

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