Korea lifts HIV travel ban

2012-07-23 06:55

The Republic of Korea has lifted travel restrictions for HIV-positive people.

This means that foreigners will no longer be refused entry or denied permission to work or settle in the country based on their HIV status.

The significant policy change became the highlight of the opening of the five-day international Aids conference in Washington DC last night.

Said executive director of the UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé: “The travel ban was lifted hours before the opening of the conference.”

Until recently, the US was one of the countries that imposed travel restrictions for HIV-positive people.

As a result, the International Aids Society (IAS), which organises the conference, has shunned the US when choosing the venue for this biannual conference.

The last time the Aids conference was held in Washington DC was in 1987.

Three years later, the US government imposed travel restrictions for HIV-positive people and lifted it again in 2009.

Kathleen Sebelius, US secretary of health and human services, admitted that the ban was a “bad policy based on faulty science”.

Said she: “We are proud that the Obama administration overturned the decision and we are proud to be your host once again.”

Dr Elly Katabira, president of the IAS, welcomed the lifting of the travel ban: “The IAS has campaigned long and hard on the issue of travel bans and will continue to do so until the remaining 46 countries that still impose some form of restriction on entry, stay or residence based on a person’s HIV-positive status change their policies.”

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