Speaking at the beginning of a major UN summit on HIV/AIDS, Secretary General Ban Ki Moon challenged national immigration laws that place travel and visa restrictions on people with HIV. He did not mince his words:
“I call for a change in laws that uphold stigma and discrimination, including restrictions on travel for people living with HIV… [60 years after the Universal Declaration on Human Rights] it is shocking that there should still be discrimination against those at high risk, such as men who have sex with men, or stigma attached to individuals living with HIV.”
Twelve countries — Armenia, Colombia, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sudan, the United States and Yemen — bar entry to people with HIV. For more on how this affects people wishing to visit the United States–and in some cases become American–read this important op-ed from Andrew Sullivan. I, for one, am glad that Ban added his voice to this critical, yet often overlooked, issue of basic human rights.