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NOTICE: This web page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated. The information is accurate only as of the last page update.

Notice: This proposed rule has become final as of November 2, 2009. Please see Final Rule Removing HIV Infection from U.S. Immigration Screening.

Fact Sheet, Proposed Removal of HIV Entry Ban

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are proposing the removal of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) from the list of diseases that can keep people who are not U.S. citizens from entering the United States.

Medical Screening of Immigrants and Refugees

Federal regulations require that most immigrants and refugees go through a medical screening for certain diseases to help protect the public's health. These diseases are called "communicable diseases of public health significance." Immigrants and refugees who are infected with these diseases may not enter the United States without a special waiver.

Current Communicable Diseases of Public Health Significance

Federal regulations list the following as a “communicable disease of public health significance”:

  • Active tuberculosis, infectious syphilis, gonorrhea, infectious leprosy, chancroid, lymphogranuloma venereum, granuloma inguinale, and HIV infection
  • Any quarantinable, communicable disease specified by Executive Orders. The current diseases are pandemic flu, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), viral hemorrhagic fevers, cholera, diphtheria, infectious tuberculosis, plague, smallpox, and yellow fever.
  • A communicable disease that may pose a public health emergency of international concern according to the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations

Removing HIV from Diseases of Public Health Significance List

CDC is proposing to remove HIV infection from the list of “communicable diseases of public health significance.” Since the regulation was written in 1987, much more is known about HIV and how it is spread. The proposed change in regulations is based on public health science and current understanding of how HIV spreads.

  • Immigrants and refugees with HIV infection do not pose a risk to the public’s health by entering the United States because HIV is preventable and is not spread through casual contact.
  • Any risk posed by HIV-infected people is not a result of their nationality, but is based on specific risk behaviors such as unprotected sex or needle sharing.
  • HIV is not a new virus to the United States. Currently, it is estimated that more than 1 million Americans are living with HIV.

This proposed change would mean that HIV infection would not prevent a person from entering the United States. As a result:

  • Testing for HIV would no longer be required as part of the U.S. immigration medical screening process, and
  • HIV infection would no longer require a waiver for entry into the United States.

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NOTICE: This web page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated. The information is accurate only as of the last page update.

 
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