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York on Thursday was among the first HIV-positive foreigners to enter the United States since the Obama administration repealed a 22-year-old travel ban that opponents said unfairly stigmatized people living with the virus.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

{snip}

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.

{snip}

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