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Living, Working, Travelling with HIV or AIDS: Developments in the Law

By Neetal Parekh on July 21, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019
DOJ Remedies Injustice and the CDC Open the Immigration Door

Two recent developments in U.S. law signal the government's move to increase the body of rights available to persons with HIV/AIDS.  The  last week extended the opportunity to attend occupational training schools and become licensed in occupations such as barbering, massage therapy, and home health care assistance to persons afflicted with HIV or AIDS.  And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have put forth a to lift the 22-year ban on foreign travel to the U.S. for persons with HIV.

The changes are significant in light of the stigma associated with the virus and disease.  Opening up opportunities for foreigners to travel into the country and expanding work opportunities for those within the country are being hailed as positive steps in broadening understanding of HIV/AIDS and furthering civil rights for persons affected by HIV/AIDS.

The DOJ quoted the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division in stating that "people with HIV or AIDS should not be denied access to their chosen profession because of outdated laws or unfounded stereotypes and fears". The DOJ also openly acknowledged the uphill battle historically faced by those diagnosed with the disease due to overly-broad, unnecessary, and discriminatory licensure requirements that are violative of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

signed off on the provision to lift the ban instituted in 1987 which barred entry to the U.S. for those carrying HIV. The regulation was approved last week by the Department of Health and Human Services and will undergo a 45-day comment period as the next step to being promulgated into law.   HIV stands as the  barring immigration by law. 


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