By Patrick Appel
From the Immigration Equality blog:
When the President signs the Pepfar bill (which could be as early as this Wednesday) the statutory HIV ban will be removed. That is, the HIV ban will no longer be written into the Immigration and Nationality Act which is extraordinarily good news. This is just the first step though, in a two step process. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has the authority to decide which illnesses constitute “communicable diseases of public health significance.” Currently, HIV is on this list, meaning that the HIV ban will not immediately be lifted with the passage of Pepfar. So, what happens next?
We must now set our sights on HHS. and urge them to strike HIV from its list. Immigration Equality is working in coalition with other organizations now to determine the best way to approach HHS. In order for the ban to be fully repealed, HHS will have to issue proposed regulations, allow for public comments, and then issue final regulations. This could be a lengthy (and contentious) process.