Task Force: Lifting HIV travel ban will finally end 'federally sanctioned stigma'

October 30, 2009

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 — President Barack Obama today announced that the long-standing ban on travel and immigration to the United States by HIV-positive individuals will end in just over 60 days. The lifting of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ban will remove HIV from the list of "communicable diseases of public health significance." Previously, people living with HIV and AIDS were not allowed to enter the U.S. and non-citizens with HIV who are living in the U.S. could not stay.

The Task Force signed onto a letter circulated by Immigration Equality to lift the HIV ban sent during the public comment period on this regulatory change. The Task Force is also supporting the efforts of Immigration Equality and other partner organizations to promote these changes via the also New Beginnings initiative, a collaboration of expert organizations, coordinated by the Task Force, pushing for concrete federal administration policy and regulatory changes directly benefiting the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and eliminating discrimination from federal policies.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"The lifting of the HIV travel ban will remove a federally sanctioned stigma and sends a strong, clear message that the United States is working to end discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS. Since HIV was the only disease singled out for exclusion by an act of Congress, the ban undermined U.S. efforts to fight the HIV pandemic. We applaud the approaching end of a discriminatory practice that stigmatized those living with HIV and AIDS. It is long past time to create a fair, humane and sensible HIV immigration policy."

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.