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America's door shut to foreigners with HIV
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BerichtGeplaatst: Vr Jul 14, 2006 19:15 
   Onderwerp: America's door shut to foreigners with HIV
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Critics say politics, `remnant of fear' keep 19-year-old ban alive

July 12, 2006

This story contains corrected material, published July 13, 2006.

In the early years of AIDS, when many people thought a deadly disease dubbed "the gay cancer" might be transmitted via drinking glasses or
doorknobs, Congress added HIV to the list of infections that could prevent a foreign visitor from entering the country.

Nearly two decades later, as the international Gay Games begin in Chicago this weekend, the law still bars any HIV-positive foreigner from
visiting the U.S., whether it is to play basketball, attend a business meeting or stand up in a family wedding.

Though immigration officials have granted a waiver to allow athletes to attend the games--just as they did in 1994, when the event was held
in New York City--many health experts are frustrated and puzzled that the rule exists at all.

"The ban serves absolutely no scientific purpose," said Patricia Mail, president of the American Public Health Association "Our country has
a long record of discrimination [against gays] and this is just one more example. ... This is strictly about politics."

The Immigration and Nationality Act denies visas to anyone with "a communicable disease of public health significance," and HIV was placed
in that category in 1987. Only a handful of countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, have a similar policy regarding people with HIV.

Over the years, such mainline organizations as the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization have opposed the rule,
saying there is no good reason to bar the HIV-positive from entering the country temporarily. Unlike infectious diseases such as
tuberculosis, HIV is not spread by routine contact.

"Because of the way it's transmitted, [HIV] simply poses no threat to public health," Mail said.

Calls to a dozen health organizations turned up no dissenting views, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declined to weigh
in on the subject. "We didn't make the policy, so it's really not appropriate for us to comment," said a CDC spokeswoman.

Other than social conservative leaders, who insist that admitting infected tourists would accelerate the spread of disease, it's hard to
find supporters of the policy. Abner Mason, a gay Republican appointed by President Bush to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS,
said he wanted to hold a conference on the topic but "could not find anyone who could defend it" (this sentence as published has been
corrected in this text).

Fear of political fallout may explain why the measure lives on, as several efforts in the early 1990s to overturn it in Congress failed amid
public opposition. Gay Games organizers said they waited until after the November 2004 elections to apply for a waiver, lest candidates make
political hay of the request.

Of 12,000 participating athletes representing 100 countries, perhaps fewer than 50 will be foreigners with HIV, said Gay Games organizer
Kevin Boyer. That is only an estimate, he emphasized, as the decision to divulge health issues--whether allergies or HIV status--to the Gay
Games is voluntary.

"We simply do not ask the question," Boyer said. "We ask about disabilities so we can accommodate visitors' needs while they're here," such
as making sure wheelchair users are properly housed. The federal ban "offends me," he said.

Peter LaBarbera, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, supports the HIV policy and said a waiver should not have been granted
for the Gay Games. Two bathhouses are among the businesses providing financial support for the event, he noted.

"When you have bathhouses as sponsors, I don't think that people are just here to play softball," LaBarbera said.

Opponents of the policy say its true effect is to push HIV-positive visitors underground, as many choose to lie about their status rather
than risk being turned away.

Some Web sites advise visitors on how to avoid detection by U.S. officials upon arrival, such as by rebottling AIDS drugs in neutral
packaging or mailing them to a friend here.

"I imagine quite a lot of people lie," said Victoria Neilson, legal director of Immigration Equality, which addresses the impact of U.S.
laws on the international gay and lesbian community. "The ramifications [of disclosure] are so severe that many people think it's simply not
worth the risk."

In 2003, a small study from Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals in England surveyed 346 HIV-positive respondents and found that, of the
135 who had traveled to the U.S., all but two had done so illegally. Of the 83 on medications, 10 stopped treatment during their stay,
running the risk of further health complications.

Blanket waivers to the policy are granted for certain "designated events," such as the Gay Games. HIV-positive travelers can try to get a
waiver for personal business, but these are much tougher to obtain, advocates report. Immigration officials said they could not say how
often waivers are granted.

"Not only do such requests take months to process, they are virtually impossible to get," said Vishal Trivedi of the Gay Men's Health Crisis
in New York City, which has acted as an adviser to the Chicago games. "Actually, I don't know a single person who's been successful."

Though no medical tests are administered at airports and authorities are not supposed to detain visitors upon finding HIV medicine, Trivedi
said it happens routinely.

That was confirmed by Cherise Miles, public information officer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Chicago. "If HIV meds are found,
we would consult with public health officials at the airport," Miles said. "We'd want to know: `What are they? What are they used for?'"

Visitors who answer yes to the question: "Have you ever been afflicted with a communicable disease of public health significance?" would
typically be detained, she said. It is "very, very rare" that someone is turned away for violating the ban at O'Hare. "But they will be
deported if they have medical documents that state they have it ... or they admit it."

The HIV restriction dates to the height of the AIDS scare in the 1980s, when many affected Americans were fired from jobs, evicted from
apartments and denied health insurance. In this climate, former North Carolina Republican Sen. Jesse Helms added HIV to the list of
disorders that bar people from entering the U.S.

Louis Sullivan, secretary of health and human services to then President Bush, promised in 1991 that the ban would be lifted but backed down
after coming under fire. Bill Clinton also promised during his 1992 bid for the White House that he would change the rule, only to succumb
to political realities a year later. (Congressional foes tacked reauthorization of the ban onto a bill funding research at the National
Institutes of Health.)

No serious effort to overturn the rule has been mobilized since, though John Kerry made repealing the policy part of his 2004 presidential
campaign. Most activists who oppose the ban are waiting to see what happens at the polls in November, Trivedi said.

Ronda Goldfein, director of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, said slowing the spread of AIDS is not about specific people but specific
behaviors, namely unprotected sex and the sharing of hypodermic needles.

"Sadly, [the ban is] a remnant of fear left over from another time, but the reactionary response remains," she said. "The questions we
should be asking is what's really behind the ban? Homophobia? Fear of immigrants? It doesn't accomplish anything ... except force people to
swallow a little more shame."

Bron: Chicago Tribune
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Gay Amsterdam Profile

Posts: 2
Woonplaats: Amsterdam Netherlands

BerichtGeplaatst: Zo Jul 16, 2006 9:17 
Reageer met quote

It's a shame that America is driven by fear and agression. I refuse to travel to America based on the fact that they treat everyone as a

Why do I wish to go to a country that is slightly a step down from Europe only to have to be treated as if I was a terrorist and even a
health risk? Although I'm fortunate not to have something to transmit or life threatening, I don't wish this agressive outdated rule to
affect those whom are effected by this infliction. I can understand their fear in the 80's when this hit hard with no control, but America
should look towards Europe as a good example. We are not perfect, but America struggles to keep up with us.

I have heard stories from friends in which they had to take off their shoes and socks, their belts and subject to scans. Suffer delays in
airports and even one story of a person refused entrance and deported because she had HIV Meds. She is in no way a danger and couldn't
afford to travel. However America refused her entrance.

There are ways with dealing with threats, but America has fallen in to the Terror trap and is proving themselves unworthy as a World leader
of example. As I write, there are ways of dealing with people management at airports, in a safe, but understanding and comfortable way.
Seems that George Orwell was correct after all.
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Gay Amsterdam Profile

BerichtGeplaatst: Za Jul 22, 2006 17:15 
   Onderwerp: Re: America's door shut to foreigners with HIV
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It's nothing less than I expect from the US. It is only 30 years or so since white/black segregation ended. With Bush still regretably in
power I doubt any changes will happen for some time.
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Posts: 1
Woonplaats: Barcelona Spain

BerichtGeplaatst: Do Jul 27, 2006 21:54 
   Onderwerp: Re: America's door shut to foreigners with HIV
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Im american and feel so ashamed with my government
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Gay Amsterdam Profile

BerichtGeplaatst: Ma Aug 07, 2006 22:16 
   Onderwerp: Re: America's door shut to foreigners with HIV
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I'm American, although I'm coming from Europe, but now I'm proud to be an American because they still stay behind the moral values which
Europe lost already. I feel more secure when they stop people with HIV to come to USA because this is a death decease,
no matter how you got it, it is a decease. Why would you want to go to another country, in first place, if you have HIV?
I hope America stays the way it is and not going down as Europe did already.
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BerichtGeplaatst: Vr Aug 11, 2006 10:40 
   Onderwerp: Re: America's door shut to foreigners with HIV
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Grace, if you close the doors to the US because of death deceases, then nobody will ever be able to enter anymore. I lived in the US for 13
years, and I left because of biggots like you who belie the tradition of hospitality that used to be the USa trademark. Shame on You
Naar boven

Posts: 176
Woonplaats: Goes e.o. Netherlands

BerichtGeplaatst: Za Aug 12, 2006 23:44 
Reageer met quote

dear Grace.

Thank you for leaving Europe. If you call having moral values means invading other countries for just economical reasons, sorry i mean
posession of mass destruction weapons, then u sure got moral values. Hail to the U S of A and to asshole, sorry, i mean president George WC
If his values are the values ure talking about, and if you're really serious you're standing behind them, i'm really glad you got there. And
i'm serious when i say: pls. never come back here.
Maybe you don't agree that ppl who have HIV do travel. Mind you, some of them may take a plane and fly into the twin towers, just to spread
Oops, sorry, someone else allready did.
Besides, why wanna go to any other country, just because u're an american?
Oh, you like to travel? May i suggest you fly to Lebanon. Possibly in range of some Israelian tank, or maybe just some crossfire. Thank you
on behalf of the ppl in this world who don't have a mideaval way of thinking.
Naar boven
Gay Amsterdam Profile

Posts: 1
Woonplaats: Leiden Netherlands

BerichtGeplaatst: Zo Sep 10, 2006 20:58 
   Onderwerp: Re: America's door shut to foreigners with HIV
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To Grace of 08 Aug,

I realy don't understand what you mean when you talk about moral values Europe has lost and that America is still defending.

Tomorrow it is 5 years since 9/11 2001. After that terrible terror act the whole world felt solidarity with USA. On 9/13 2001 French major
newspaper (Le Monde) wrote:' Nous sommes tous des Americains' meaning: 'We are all Americans'.

And what happened next? With lies the Bush Administration led USA and the world in an injust war in Iraq. Sure, I am happy Saddam Hussein is
behind bars now, but the reason to start the war was based on misleading and lies. More fine American boys and girls are killed in Iraq now
than in the 9/11 attack.

European values? What is democracy? The dictatorship of 50%+1 vote? France stated in 2001 that it would not be a good idea to start a war
against Iraq. And what was the answer of the American NeoCons? 'France should be punished'. 'French fries' were renamed in 'Freedom fries'.
Is that democracy? You obey to us, or you are our enemy?

There are intenational rules of justice, but it looks like they can be offended by USA only. Torture on POW's, seret prisons, sexual abuse
of prisoners, telling lies to your best allies. Are that the American values you are talking about?

Don't take me wrong, I like America and Americans. But I realy think USA deserves a better administration.

Kind regards,
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Gay Amsterdam Profile

BerichtGeplaatst: Do Sep 14, 2006 16:35 
   Onderwerp: Re: America's door shut to foreigners with HIV
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Hmmm, Grace does not do justice to her name. Frankly, she's dealing with her own "death disease" called red hot bitterness. I cannot imagine
what vile pain Grace had in her to drive her from her birth place with such bitterness? Back in Europe, did your husband come out as being
gay ? Were you single, loveless and hit middle age ? Are you a mail order bride that now has the luxury of owning an electric egg beater?
Hmm, my mind boggles. So Grace, I think your silly views on Europe/USA/HIV are null and void, much like your fractured spirit. Anyhow, the
issue is HIV entry ban in the USA. I have many friends in the USA and have traveled there twice. Sadly, I cannot risk nor do I wish to take
drug free holidays so the likelyhood of me returning to explore more of America is zero. I often visit many other great places within the
world and if I'm organised, I can coincide meeting my American buddies outside of the USA. I never judge a culture by its politicians and I
still believe America to be a vast and beautiful country with diverse landscapes and welcoming citizens. It is the politics of fear that is
smothering the USA and I feel very sorry for the average American and moreso, for the American HIV community that is cut off point blank
from any global contact with international HIV positive tourists. I personally am offended by being banned from what is labeled a "civilized
country" and glad I can travel Europe and Australasia without discrimination. With great advancements in medication, HIV positive people
have returned to living normal lives vastly different from those aweful years during the 80"s. For me, travel is a part of life, it shapes
who I am when once I traveled as a last ditch attempt to see as much of the world as I could. I do not travel with HIV on my mind nor do I
actively seek out other positive people worldwide however it is good to know that you will be welcome if the subject does arise and that
friendships can continue on. It is sad this ban in America makes me remember back to a time when religion, low brow people and politicians
showed a face of evil that I never want to experience again. Nowadays I have John Howard to tell me I cant marry a non resident so thank
mother earth for places like Canada, Brighton (UK) and various other liberated and compassionate countries.
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BerichtGeplaatst: Za Sep 23, 2006 19:44 
   Onderwerp: Re: America's door shut to foreigners with HIV
Reageer met quote

I am an American, and as such there are some things about this country that I am proud of. This IS NOT one of them. I am ashamed of our
government for this. As with all countries, you should not judge a country by it's government officials. Most Americans disagree with our
politicians and lawmakers. As for the long delays at the airport and taking shoes and belts off, well, after the horrific disaster of
9/11, of which I was there, I must say that I would rather have the inconvienence than to worry that terriorists are going to fly my plane
into another building.

And I must make a comment on Grace from above. You are a closed minded idiot. "Why would you want to go to another country, in first
place, if you have HIV?" WHAT KIND OF COMMENT IS THAT??? Are you saying that all HIV positive people should hide in their home like a
prison! I think that YOU should do that and stay off the internet so the rest of us don't have to tolerate your toxic, biggoted, ideals.
Naar boven

Posts: 413
Woonplaats: Den Haag Netherlands

BerichtGeplaatst: Ma Sep 25, 2006 10:38 
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"As for the long delays at the airport and taking shoes and belts off, well, after the horrific disaster of 9/11..."

...but after 9/11 trains were the target, both in Madrid and in London.
OK, on a plane, once it explodes, everyone is dead... but you would be on a train when you're in the same compartment or the next.
Don't you think it will give people a false sense of security to have their underpants inspected? Recent 'tests' show that those really
intent on causing harm will slip through inspections one way or the other.

What we 'need' is fear instilled in the public, so they will want a 'tough' governent, and sacrifice a civil liberty or two.
See that hidden agendas don't remain hidden!
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Gay Amsterdam Profile

Posts: 176
Woonplaats: Goes e.o. Netherlands

BerichtGeplaatst: Di Sep 26, 2006 0:20 
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Hail Martin! Yes, pinpointed the dillemma!

Our governement is trying to get us scared. And now they launch a new campaign: look forward! Be prepared for disaster. And know how to be!
Get a flashlight (don't forget the batteries), canned food to survive a while, and matches (but make sure to hide them waterproof!).

What kind of noncense is this? It reminds me of warning messages the governement send to us on tv when they still were afraid of an atomic
attac. Hide underneath a table or a staircase. Duh, if that would have helped. Ask ppl of Hiroschima or Nagasaki if it helped them!

We just are running along in a Bush propaganda! Just some excuse to invade Iran and Iraq. So waht do we do? We places fences around possible
targets. As if those fences can stop ppl who really want to harm us.

We alert the public, so they tell us where possible bombs can be. Sure, i am a terrorist, i leave my bag with boms behind, so tyhe public
will be alerted! Get real! If i was a terrorist and had a target, would i blow my cover? No way! Like Martin said: they'll find a way! And
they'll make sure not visiting the U.S.A. with a bag full of explosives.

Why wanna do that anyway? You can buy them, once inside the U.S.A., much more easily! Besides: have any mass destruction weapons been found
in Iraq? Has Osama Bin Laden been traced? I've seen the recent films about the 9/11 attacks, and all the doubts been raised there. Anyone
can explain?

I tend to think Bush (well, not himself, he's too stupid for that! his staff did) planned it all, and had no scruples in doing it, in an
effort to make himself the great, popular good guy! Pitty for all those lifes lost!
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Gay Amsterdam Profile

Posts: 1
Woonplaats: Melbourne Australia

BerichtGeplaatst: Za Sep 30, 2006 20:18 
Reageer met quote

Don't forget the Bali bombings where many local Australian and international tourists (mostly 20-30 yo) were murdered on two seperate
occasions by bomb explosions. It's all very sad and 9/11 was not the only horrific disaster.

Bringing this back in line with the thread, I really dont see much difference in the treatment you would get by US immigration if you were
caught carrying explosives or carrying prescription pills for HIV. (refer to my former posting on being banned aka Link_from_Australia)
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Gay Amsterdam Profile

BerichtGeplaatst: Wo Okt 11, 2006 5:23 
   Onderwerp: Re: America's door shut to foreigners with HIV
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I'm an American. Born and raised here in America's Heartland-Indiana USA. To all of the WONDERFUL people of Europe... There's no excuse for
American Ignorance! (Grace-Above) Unfortunately, our country is young and Americans have so much to learn about true life.
After working for one of the two Airlines that was hijacked on 09/11/01, for ten years, I have had so many wonderful opportunities to
travel and see so many different parts of the world. After Visiting Europe, I so strongly felt that Europe should be called "The Land of The
Free, and The Home of The Brave". I also thought--"No wonder other people around the world have such hatred for America". Unfortunately,
there are so many ignorant, narrow-minded, discriminative people, here in the United States. It is changing very slowly, but the positive
note, is that it is all changing. HopefullyThe "Grace's" of the United States of America, will someday, no longer be. We can only hope that
the Grace's and their families and friends are not effected by the face of AIDS, AS none of us wish it upon anyone, nor the discrimination
that comes with it. Unfortuntately, sometimes, that is exactly how the blind people become to understand. We can only hope, not, for her
sake. Aids is not a disease that anyone wants to deal with. But when you see a loved one suffer, and go through the disease, It really is a
life altering experience.
The person above me is so right. Most Americans from the United States, are such spoiled, selfish brats that were only blessed with
ignorance. A lot of Americans from the USA, ONLY believe the world is the USA, AND, unfortunately, they never put themselves in other
people's shoes, or place. It's so sad for someone like me to see that everyday. Before 09/11/01, most Americans would hear of "Terrorists"
on the national news,in Africa, and on other contenants, but, frankly, it would not register in their minds that it COULD happen to
Americans on American soil. 09/11/01, is not something that ever should have happened on any land, airline, Airspace, territory, nor to
anyone of the human race. But it did. As did many many other terrorist attacks around the world prior to 09/11/01.
There are many many very good people in the United States, as there are all over the world.
Naar boven
V Jones

BerichtGeplaatst: Za Nov 04, 2006 0:40 
   Onderwerp: Re: America's door shut to foreigners with HIV
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The balance of scientific evidence indicates that HIV 2 evolved in New York City around 1976 (see "And the Band Played on", R. Schiltz),
since most non-African cases of HIV are HIV2, it is totally hypocritical for the USA to ban people with HIV from entering the US. The virus
(type 2) comes from the US!
All potential immigrants wishing to live for more than 6 months in the USA, including nuns and 15year old school children are forced to have
mandatory blood testing for HIV and syphilis, as well as mandatory STD checks, as part of the medical check prior to admission. Presumably
this is US paranoia about people coming to the states for treatment, but it's madness; When you're forcing intimate gynaecological exams for
STDs on school children (aged 15 or over) emigrating with their parents, that verges on child abuse.
No European in their right mind with HIV would emigrate to the US, where they will have punitive healthcare prices, when they can get free
treatment in Europe.
"Land of the Free" my ass! If Americans woke up to how dictatorial their state is, surely they would change things.
Naar boven
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