US Removes HIV as Bar to Visas

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US Removes HIV as Bar to Visas

Unread post by ኦሽንoc » 05 Jan 2010 12:18

[justify]US Removes HIV as Bar to Visas [/justify]

HIV testing is no longer mandatory for visa application at the US Embassy, effective as of tomorrow January 4, 2009.
The requirement, which had been in effect since 1987, has been repealed. The US Embassy Consular Section in Addis Abeba is to contact visa applicants it turned down in the last year because they were HIV positive. It is going to call them to reapply for visas, according to a statement the US Embassy sent to Fortune on Thursday, December 31, 2009.
This came as a result of the decision by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that HIV testing will no longer be included in the medical exam required for US visa applicants.
"It is an initiative that the US Government has been working toward for more than a year," Alyson Grunder, public affairs officer at the US Embassy in Addis Abeba told Fortune.

"There is now more accurate information available about the transmission of HIV and [it has been determined] that the immigrants with HIV do not pose any risk to public health," the statement reads. "HIV is preventable and is not spread through casual contact."
Therefore, the Department of Health and Human Services and CDC published the new ruling on November 2, 2009.

"I am so glad they came to realise this now, even though late," exclaimed Tadesse Aynalem, president of the Dawn of Hope Ethiopia Association. "I am so thankful to the US Government."

Dawn of Hope Ethiopia Association is one of the first few organisations set up to protect people with HIV from stigma and discrimination. Tadesse said that visa denial was a typical discrimination people with HIV had to endure.
Tedros Adhanom (PhD), minister of Health, shares Tadesse's view that the decision came late. He believes that this is a good start which could be an example for the 50 other countries with travel restrictions.

The change means that HIV status would not prevent a person from entering the US. Diversity Visa (DV) applicants and other immigrants who are HIV positive will, like any other applicant, be asked to prove that they do not need financial or medical assistance from the US Government.
"We think that people with HIV will not be asked for insurance or any other guarantee to get a visa," the President of Dawn of Hope said.
The US Embassy was not able to provide the statistics on the number of applicants who were refused a visa due to their HIV status because of the visa privacy laws.
"We used to lobby through our website that people with HIV should not be denied the right to be treated like other people," Negash Teklu, executive director of the Consortium for the Integration of Population, Health and Environment, said. "We used to appeal through our website for this change to come, and this is a success for us."
Source : Addis fortune

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