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April 27, 10

NEWS / UN lauds Chinas decision to remove travel restrictions based on HIV status

27 April 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) today hailed the decision by the Chinese Government to lift the country’s travel ban for people living with HIV.

“I commend President Hu Jintao for China’s decision to remove travel restrictions based on HIV status,” said Mr. Ban. “Punitive policies and practices only hamper the global AIDS response. I urge all other countries with such restrictions to remove them as a matter of priority and urgency.”

The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, said the move is yet another example of China’s leadership in the AIDS response.

The agency, which strongly opposes any laws that restrict movement based on HIV-positive status only, stressed that such restrictions are discriminatory and do not prevent HIV transmission or protect public health.

In addition, travel restrictions have no economic justification, as people living with HIV can lead long and productive working lives, UNAIDS stated in a news release.

“Every individual should have equal access to freedom of movement – regardless of HIV status,” said Mr. Sidibé.

According to UNAIDS, 51 countries, territories, and areas currently impose some form of travel restriction on the entry, stay and residence of people living with HIV based on their HIV status.

Five countries deny visas to people living with HIV for even short-term stays, while 23 countries deport individuals once their HIV-positive status is discovered.

In January, Mr. Ban 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.

Several other countries, including Namibia and the Ukraine, have recently pledged to take steps to remove such restrictions.




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