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IAS APPLAUDS ANNOUNCEMENT OF REPEAL OF CHINA'S DISCRIMINATORY AND INEFFECTIVE HIV ENTRY AND IMMIGRATION BAN

New Policy Could Lead Other Countries in Asia and the Pacific to Follow Suit

30 April 2010 (Geneva, Switzerland) - The International AIDS Society (IAS) applauds China Premier Wen Jiabao's announcement this week that China's 20-year-old HIV entry and immigration ban is to be lifted.

"With this week's announcement, China's entry and immigration policy relative to HIV will be rooted in science and sound public health practices, rather than reflecting the fear and bigotry that drove this policy for so many years," said Julio Montaner, President of the International AIDS Society. "Removing these types of laws around the world is crucial to combating stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and we hope other nations with such laws and policies in place will soon follow suit."

The state council, China's cabinet, issued amended rules on April 27, 2010 removing the explicit ban on people living with HIV and AIDS. The amended regulations posted on the Chinese Government website did not say whether HIV and AIDS would be among the infectious diseases that people seeking Chinese visas must declare when applying.

The IAS has opposed China's HIV-specific entry and immigration ban in principle and practice since 1990. The IAS does not hold its conferences in countries that restrict entry of people living with HIV and AIDS and/or require prospective HIV-positive visitors to declare their HIV status on visa application forms or other documentation required for entry into the country. The International AIDS Conference, which moves from country to country every two years, has never been held in China.

"IAS is proud of its longstanding leadership and commitment to the removal of HIV entry and residence restrictions. We congratulate the Chinese Government, and the many advocates from the fields of science, medicine, law, and constituent groups most affected, who have long fought for the repeal of the HIV travel ban in China, in other countries in the Asia and the Pacific Region and around the world," said IAS Executive Director Robin Gorna.

In the Asia and the Pacific region, many countries have HIV-specific entry or immigration laws that are enforced inconsistently. Singapore has an outright ban on all HIV-positive non-nationals for entry and immigration. Brunei targets HIV-positive foreigners for deportation, while Australia requires HIV testing for permanent visa applicants over the age of 15. South Korea announced changes to its entry and immigration policy on January 1, 2010, but clarification on its amended laws are still unclear.

Worldwide, some 66 countries around the world have some sort of HIV-specific laws that restrict the entry, stay or residence of people living with HIV. IAS member-experts in infectious disease and public health have long held that laws and policies barring the entry, stay or residence of HIV-positive people do not protect the public health and may in fact impede effective responses to HIV. Such "travel restrictions" prevent HIV- positive people from visiting relatives in other countries, doing business or studying abroad, migrating for work reasons, participating in international humanitarian and development efforts, serving in consular services, seeking or receiving asylum, attending conferences, vacationing, uniting with family members or adopting HIV-positive children from abroad.

For more information on countries with HIV entry, stay and residence restrictions, please go to www.hivrestrictions.org.

About the IAS:
The International AIDS Society (IAS) is the world's leading independent association of HIV professionals, with 14,000 members from 190 countries working at all levels of the global response to AIDS. Our members include researchers from all disciplines, clinicians, public health and community practitioners on the frontlines of the epidemic, as well as policy and programme planners. The IAS is the custodian of the biennial International AIDS Conference, which will next be held in Vienna, Austria in July 2010.

 

- Ends -


For more information::

Alan Brotherton (Geneva, Switzerland)
Director of Policy and Communications
Email: Alan.Brotherton@iasociety.org
Tel: +41 22 710 0857

Lindsey Rodger
Communications Assistant
Email: Lindsey.Rodger@iasociety.org
Tel: +41 22 710 0822

"Reproduced with permission - International AIDS Society"

International AIDS Society
www.iasociety.org



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