August 29, 2008
ACTION ALERT: TELL YOUR REPS TO PRESSURE HHS!
The American Dream shouldn't be on hold for people with HIV
During the PEPFAR reauthorization, Congress finally voted to end the archaic HIV/AIDS immigration and travel ban. But HIV is still on the Department of Health and Human Services' list of "communicable diseases of public health significance" (The list also includes syphilis, gonorrhea and other diseases that can't be transmitted through casual contact, but we'll talk all about that after Labor Day). So despite this historic Congressional action, people with HIV who want to travel or immigrate to the U.S. are still in legal limbo.
There's political will at HHS and within the Bush administration to take HIV off the list of communicable diseases once and for all. But like everything else, it's easy for this fix to fall to the back burner. Let's make sure the change happens now!
Ask your Representative to co-sign a letter urging the White House to completely abolish the discriminatory travel ban. Click here for a ready-made form to contact your Congress members and remind them that this retrograde policy is still in effect.
Jim Pickett, one of the organizers of the Microbicide Conference in Pittsburgh in 2010, wants to see the policy changed soon, not just so people with AIDS from around the world can attend the conference, but so this egregious human rights violation ends. He said he is optimistic that the policy will be changed by next year, but said, "We really have to mobilize. During the HHS comment period there will be people saying nonsensical bigoted things. We need to make sure we have sounder, sane commentary."