The vote is imminent. Groups are rallying:

We, the undersigned organizations, write to voice our strong support for Section 305 of the Tom Lantos & Henry J. Hyde U.S. Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008 (S. 2731).  This important provision removes the statute which permanently bans people living with HIV/AIDS from entering the U.S. or obtaining legal permanent residency and restores authority to HHS to determine, based on sound medical and public health reasoning, whether HIV status should be grounds for inadmissibility.  We strongly urge you to oppose any attempt to remove this critical provision from the legislation.

Congress first adopted this policy in 1987 through an amendment directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to add HIV to the list of medical conditions barring visitors and immigrants to the United States.  In the early 1990’s, when, after careful consideration of the public health consequences, HHS sought to loosen these restrictions, Congress reacted by codifying the ban in our nation’s immigration laws.  To this day, HIV is the only medical condition listed in the Immigration and Nationality Act as a basis for inadmissibility.  By contrast, the admissibility status for any other disease is left to the discretion of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, based upon the risk the illness poses to the public health.

This draconian policy has negative consequences for our nation.  Health care professionals, researchers, and other exceptionally talented people have been blocked from the United States.  Since 1993, the International Conference on AIDS has not been held on U.S. soil due to this policy. In addition, the United States is out of step with the international community and most other countries.  The International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, produced jointly by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNAIDS, state that “there is no public health rationale for restricting liberty of movement or choice of residence on the grounds of HIV status.” 

In June of this year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an end to discriminatory travel restrictions based on HIV status.  The U.S. is one of only 12 countries – the others being Armenia, Colombia, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sudan, and Yemen – to have such harsh travel restrictions on people living with HIV/AIDS. Removing this discriminatory ban from our nation’s statutes is a crucial step towards strengthening our nation’s leadership in the global fight against HIV/AIDS – an important goal of the PEPFAR program.  We understand that the manager’s amendment includes an offset for this provision ensuring that no additional costs will be associated with its inclusion in the legislation. We strongly urge you to reject discrimination and stigma towards people living with HIV/AIDS by ensuring that this important provision survives Senate consideration of PEPFAR reauthorization fully intact.

Sincerely,

ACT UP, Philadelphia, Paris
Alexian Brothers Bonaventure House
African American Health and Social Services
African Services Committee
AIDES (France)
AIDS Action
AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth & Families
AIDS Alliance for Faith and Health
AIDS Charitable Trust of New Mexico

AIDS Foundation of Chicago The AIDS Institute
AIDS Project Los Angeles
AIDS Services In Asian Communities
AIDS Services of Austin
AIDS Task Force of Greater Cleveland
AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition
AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition
Alliance for Microbicide Development
American Academy of HIV Medicine
American Civil Liberties Union
American Jewish World Service
American Medical Students Association
American Psychological Association
ANERELA+
Austin Health Center of Cook County
Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations
Being Alive People with HIV/AIDS Action Coalition
BIENESTAR
BiNET USA
Boston May Day Coalition
Boston Rosa Parks Human Rights Coalition
Breakthrough: building human rights culture
Bronx AIDS Services
Cable Positive
California Council of Churches IMPACT
Cascade AIDS Project
The Center for HIV Law and Policy
Central Illinois FRIENDS of People with AIDS
Central Louisiana AIDS Support Services, Inc.
Charleston AIDS Network
Chicago Foundation for Women
Chicago House and Social Service Agency
Clinicas De Salud del Pueblo, Inc.
Colorado Anti-Violence Project
Coloradans for Immigrant Rights
Compass, Inc.
Emerson Rojas-Project Coordinator
Empire Justice Center
Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services
Eternal Hope Community Development Corporation, Inc.
Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative Gay Men’s Health Crisis
Global Action for Children
Global AIDS Alliance
Global Campaign for Microbicides
Global Fight Against AIDS, TB and Malaria
Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS
Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS
Haitian Centers Council, Inc.
Health GAP (Global Access Project), New   York City
Hema Diagnostic Systems HIV/AIDS Services for African Americans in Alaska
HIVictorious
HIV Law Project
HIV Medicine Association
Hope and Health Center of Central Florida
House of Joseph II
Housing Works Human Rights Campaign
Hyacinth AIDS Foundation
Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
Immigration Equality
Immigration Law Project, Fordham University School of Law
In This Together, Inc.
INdetectable
Interaction Law
International AIDS Empowerment
International AIDS Society
International Community of Women Living with HIV and AIDS

Integrated Minority AIDS Network, Inc.
International Rectal Microbicide Advocates
International Women’s Health Coalition
Kentucky Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Kentucky Equal Justice Center
Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Action Group

Khush DC
Jamaica Plain Rapid Response Network
Lambda Legal
Latino Commission on AIDS
Lexington Fairness
Liberty Research Group
LIFE Foundation
Lifelong AIDS Alliance
Lowcountry AIDS Project
Mendocino County AIDS Volunteer Network
Metrolina AIDS Project
Michigan Equality
Michigan HIV/AIDS Council
The Ministry of Caring
My Brothaz Home, Inc.
National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors
National Association of People With AIDS
National Association of People With AIDS (Nepal)
National Center for Transgender Equality

National Council of Jewish Women
National Health Law Program
National Immigrant Justice Center
National Immigration Law Center
National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National Minority AIDS Council
New Mexico AIDS Services
New York AIDS Coalition
New York Trans Rights Organizations
Night Ministry (Chicago, IL)
Oklahoma State University Physicians
OneAmerica
Open Door Clinic
Open Society Policy Center
P.A.C.- Positive Advocacy Coalition
Parents, Famililes and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative
Physicians for Human Rights Pierce County AIDS Foundation
Political Asylum Immigration Representation Project
Political Asylum Project of Austin
Power Inside, Baltimore, Maryland
POZ Magazine Project Inform
Project SMART
Public Health Division, City of   Portland Maine
Queer People’s Health Collective
RESULTS USA
Richard’s Place
SafeGuards LGBT Health Resource Center
San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, Inc.
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
San Mateo County AIDS Program Community Board
Search for a Cure
SisterLove, Inc.
South Asian Americans Leading Together
South Asian Network
Southwest Community Services, Inc. Spokane AIDS Network
Tahirih Justice Center
Terrence Higgins Trust
Title II Community AIDS National Network
Treatment Action Group
Triad Health Project United Methodist Church, General Board of Church & Society
Vermont CARES
Victorian AIDS Council
Voices of Hagar HIV/AIDS Health Ministry
The Wall Las Memorias
West Alabama American Red Cross
West O’ahu Hope For A Cure Foundation
Weingart Center Association
Whitman Walker Clinic Who’s Positive Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Disease
The Women’s CenterThe Woodhull Freedom Foundation
YWCA USA

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