04 January 2010


Today, 4 January 2010, marks the end of the US HIV travel ban.

For those who might not be familiar with this story — and there are a disturbing number of people who didn't know about this — the United States banned the entry of people living with HIV to its territory from 1993 until today. Oh, yes, there were ways around this, either by getting a waiver (meaning disclosing your status and applying for permission to enter the country for treatment or on compassionate grounds, acceptance not guaranteed), by hiding your HIV medications (more difficult in the post-9-11 era), or by taking a holiday from your treatment (not the best of ideas for the efficacy of your treatment). The rule, however, was as clear as the message: if you have HIV we don't want you.

So now, after a year-and-a-half process that actually started under George W. Bush (but wasn't likely his idea), the ban is gone and the country has gone one step further than that, eliminating the HIV test as a part of required medical testing for immigration purposes. I realize that when a country doesn't have subsidized health care this is probably easier to do, but I wish Canada would follow that particular lead and stop testing immigrants and refugees.

So why am I ungrateful? I refuse to be grateful when someone finally stops doing something they should not have started doing in the first place. If I'm being punched in the face and the bully stops, should I thank him? I'm not grateful for that. It is the right thing to do, but it is not praiseworthy.

So now let's get on with eliminating other countries' various absolute and conditional barriers to the free movement of people living with HIV, maybe starting with our own.


Beauty Castle Shopping World (Malaysia) said...
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Beauty Castle Shopping World (Malaysia) said...
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David McHep C said...

I agree. I'm glad that they ended the ban, but not thankful. Those two other comments are crazy. I don't think that they read your blog. I can't speak for them though. David

Ken Monteith said...

Unfortunately, those other two comments were spam advertising that got around the word recognition thing, so I have had to turn on the comment moderation to prevent that from happening in the future.