UN backs lawmakers' call to do away with travel bans based on HIV status

Michel Sidibé

29 March 2010 – The United Nations agency tasked with fighting the spread of HIV has supported a call made by the world’s parliamentarians to lift travel restrictions for people living with the disease.

The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) have also urged the implementation of legislation to protect people living with HIV from discrimination.

Currently, 52 countries, territories and areas have some form of HIV-specific restriction on entry, stay and residence – including banning tourists or study – based on positive HIV status.

“Travel restrictions for people living with HIV do not protect public health and are outdated in the age of universal access to HIV prevention and treatment,” said Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director.

He highlighted the vital role that parliamentarians can play in removing discriminatory laws and restrictions.

In January, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UNAIDS congratulated the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States for lifting “discriminatory” travel limits that previously prevented people living with HIV from entering both nations.

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Ban applauds Republic of Korea, US for lifting entry limits based on HIV status

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