The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and the International Organization for Migration on Tuesday called for 60 nations, including the United States, to end their policies that restrict entry for international travelers who are HIV-positive, Voice of America News reports. The United States has one of the most restrictive policies in the world; legislation shepherded through Congress by former senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) in the 1990s forbade entry into the country by anyone who is HIV-positive. Other nations with entry bans or that require proof of a negative HIV test before entry is permitted include many of the former Soviet republics and several Arab nations.
Mary Haour-Knipe, HIV/AIDS coordinator for IOM, said there is "no public health justification" for the policies and that they serve only to "add to the climate of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV." Entry restrictions also suggest that HIV is a foreign problem that can be contained with border restrictions, Haour-Knipe said, but in reality HIV already exists in every country of the world.