Updated: The Obama administration has taken a key step toward lifting a two-decades-old ban on travel and immigration to the US by HIV-positive foreigners, which has long been criticized as unnecessary and discriminatory.
When Congress reauthorized the PEPFAR program last summer, lawmakers included a provision overturning the ban that barred HIV-positive visitors from the US. But the prohibition remained in effect because HIV was still on a list of “communicable diseases of public health significance,” allowing US officials to bar entry into the country.
The administration publish a proposed regulation that would remove HIV from that list of diseases, a move hailed by leading HIV/AIDS advocates who say the ban perpetuated the stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV. Among other effects, the ban has meant the US was unable to host the International AIDS Conference despite its leading role in combating the deadly epidemic.
Now that the administration’s proposed regulation is published, there will be a 45-day open comment period before the Department of Health and Human Services can make it final.