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Travel Restrictions Based on HIV status Removed in Republic of Korea and US

7 January 2010
Author: UNFPA

GENEVA, WASHINGTON, DC – UNAIDS, as well as UNFPA, one of its 10 cosponsors, strongly welcome the elimination of travel restrictions based on HIV status by the Republic of Korea, effective 1 January 2010. They also commend the United States for full implementation of the final rule that removes entry restrictions. This means that travellers living with HIV can freely enter the United States as of today.

Some 57 countries, territories and areas have some form of HIV-specific restriction on entry,stay and residence that is based on HIV status. These include those that completely ban entry of HIV positive people for any reason or length of stay; and/or are applied to visa applications for very short stays (e.g. tourist visas); and/or are applied to visa applications for longer stays (visas for residency, immigration, asylum or resettlement, study, international employment, and consular service). Such restrictions, strongly opposed by UNAIDS, are discriminatory and do not protect public health, and UNAIDS has called for global freedom of movement for people living with HIV in 2010.

"There is a critical link between human rights and public health," says Steve Kraus, UNFPA's Global Coordinator on HIV/AIDS. "We actively encourage political leaders, policy makers and national programme managers to implement rights-based approaches to HIV, including involving those affected as equal partners. Elimination of entry restrictions moves the world closer to universal access. We look forward to the day when all people living with HIV can travel freely."

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