End the HIV immigration and travel ban

AIDS ribbonDid you know that HIV-positive immigrants can not become US citizens? Did you know that the US is one of a handful of countries (including the Sudan and Saudi Arabia) that doesn’t allow visitors, much less immigrants, into the country who are HIV-positive (without special permission)?

I didn’t. But now that I know, I’m outraged.

Upon a bit more research (courtesy of Andrew Sullivan, who faces deportation in March unless the law changes) I learned that this senseless bigotry was initiated into law by none other than Jesse Helms, the nasty old racist and homophobe who (thankfully) died this past weekend. Hopefully this bigoted law will die with him.

The fact is that HIV does not constitute the communicable threat that people thought it did in the 1980s. I am gay and HIV-negative, spend a lot of time with HIV-positive people, and do not, in any way, fear for my health. And the costs of treating HIV are similar to that of other chronic illnesses, like diabetes (so it’s not as if HIV-positive people are going to screw our healthcare system any worse than it is already).

I’ve written my senators, Dianne and Barbara, and encourage you all to do the same.

It is sad that plenty of bright people who have plenty to contribute to our country’s discourse, creativity and productivity are being turned away because this bigoted law still sits on our books.

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