Obama Lifts HIV Travel/Immigration Ban

About. Damn. Time.
Via The Advocate and Akimbo:
“The United States is one of a dozen countries that bar people with HIV from entering the country,” Obama said as he announced the lifting of the U.S. policy banning travel and immigration to the U.S. by people who are HIV-positive.
“If we want to be the global leader in HIV, we need to act like it.”
This should go a long way towards battling the seemingly ubiquitous stigma and discrimination HIV-positive people face worldwide. What a great way to end the week!

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is Executive Director of Partnerships at Feministing, where she enjoys creating and curating content on gender, race, class, technology, and the media. Lori is also an advocacy and communications professional specializing in sexual and reproductive rights and health, and currently works in the Global Division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A graduate of Harvard University, she lives in Brooklyn.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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  • Elizabeth

    I just read about this in The Guardian and it made my day that much better!

  • Gular

    Maybe this is the work day getting to me late on a Friday, but about fucking time. Finally, something substantive and advocate-like from the White House.

  • Lilith Luffles

    Yay! Another good thing from the white house! My vote wasn’t a total waste!
    Still waiting for other things he promised to happen. But this is a good step forward.

  • johninbuffalo

    Great news, but couldn’t he have phrased it better, like “If we want to be the leader in HIV-awareness…” or soemthing liek that? Still awesome news.

  • kandela

    I have an interesting question. In many countries people with illnesses that require ongoing medical costs would face tougher criteria for immigration. People with HIV would fall into this category. The reason is public health care. The immigration of people with ongoing medical needs results in more spending on the part of the government. I wonder if it is because the US doesn’t yet have public health care that the US government is able to take this decision? Lifting the travel ban makes sense no matter the situation but immigration is a little more complicated. Does anyone have any comments?

  • LaviSoloway

    As we celebrate this historical victory, we must also thank those who made HIV repeal a priority for our organization, Immigration Equality, in February 1993 when we first founded it. Our mission then was to fight for binational couples, to ensure the availability of asylum for those persecuted, and to seek fairness for HIV+ immigrants. Almost from the first meetings we began to discuss ways in which we could illustrate the harm against our families caused by the HIV ban (waivers for those with US spouses compounded its effects against our community). As a fledgling organization we worked with Latino Commission on AIDS, HIV Law Project, Lambda Legal Defense and GMHC in the early 1990s and learned a lot about HIV advocacy and coalition building. Those brave folks who joined us in early days of 1993, who helped start this organization with bake sales and $10 donations, and who saw this fight through 16 years deserve our admiration and gratitude today. Many along the way tired of the fight and after contributing to the maximum of their endurance passed the torch. Many others felt it was a losing battle that could never be won and that all resources should be directed elsewhere. They were wrong. Persistence has paid off. “The arc of history bends toward justice,” said Martin Luther King, Jr., famously. For those who think 16 years of fighting in the trenches is too long to win and protect our civil rights, I urge you to look at the repeal of this ban and how it will forever change lives. For those who have joined our struggle recently, it is appropriate to consider the context, the road that got us here: literally hundreds of meetings, protests, strategy sessions, newspaper articles and conferences, the countless of hours of public education by non-citizens with HIV/AIDS who were unfairly excluded from this country by the policy. That is how we got here. We stand on the shoulders of others when we celebrate victory. We must keep the fight up for UAFA and our inclusion in Comprehensive Immigration Reform and not be put off that these struggles take years. Still, every one of us has a right to celebrate this moment, whether we were skeptics or lifers. See more at:

  • Gular

    As I understand it, the travel ban is for temporary stays. Whether tourism lasting long enough to not require special papers, student visa, work visa or otherwise, HIV+ people from other countries were not being allowed in at the discretion of immigration officials.
    For instance, the World AIDS Conference isn’t held in the US because of the HIV travel ban. Any of the world scholars who are HIV positive from Europe cannot enter the US because they are HIV+. They tried to do it once, but their headlining speaker got detained and deported back to his home country because he had AZT in his bag.