HIV-Positive Foreigners Enter US After Ban Lifted

Marcus Franklin, R&D Magazine, January 7, 2010

A Dutch citizen who arrived in New York on Thursday was among the first HIV-positive foreigners to enter the United States since the Obama administration repealed a 22-year-old travel ban that opponents said unfairly stigmatized people living with the virus.

Clemens Ruland, 45, of the Netherlands, arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport on a flight from Amsterdam with his partner, Hugo Bausch, 50, for a one-week vacation.

Ruland, a psychiatric nurse and AIDS activist who works with criminal and troubled youth, told reporters he was thrilled that HIV-positive travelers to the U.S. were being treated equally.

{snip} “People with HIV are not a threat to anybody, so there is no reason to exclude them,” he added.

A Canadian citizen who traveled to Buffalo on Monday was the first person to cross the U.S. border on the day the repeal took effect, officials said.


The U.S. ban kept out thousands of people over the years it was in place. Green card applicants were required to take an HIV test, said Steve Ralls, a spokesman for Immigration Equality, a New York-based legal advocacy group. He said the ban complicated the adoption of foreign children with HIV.

Opponents of the ban said it hurt public health policy and was discriminatory.



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