Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bush Cracks Door To Lifting HIV Travel Ban

Last Friday we mentioned that the archaic HIV travel ban this country has had in place since 1987 had been approved for repeal by the House and Senate and was on its way to Bush's desk, for his anticipated signature. Some media outlets are saying Bush lifted the ban yesterday -- but that's not exactly true.

Yesterday he did sign the AIDS funding bill (with tremendous fanfare and Laura by his side), which includes language allowing for repeal of the U.S. ban on HIV-positive foreign visitors and immigrants, but basically leaving it to the Department of Health and Human Services.

And, according to The Washington Blade the White House had yet to disclose whether Bush and his Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Mike Leavitt, would approve one more administrative action needed to end the U.S. ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants. The HSS in 1987 specifically added HIV to the list of communicable diseases that disqualified HIV people, and now the bill that Bush ended up signing leaves it up to the HSS to basically reverse that decision.

Though there have been hopes that the White House supported lifting the ban, this may be another fuck you from Bush, and something he'll leave to the next president. We'll keep you informed as more information is available.