Advertisement cover the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010)

International AIDS Conference Day 3: Dr. Koh Speaks on HIV Travel Restrictions

July 20, 2010

James Chau, UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador, and Dr. Howard Koh, M.D., M.P.H.

James Chau, UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador, and Dr. Howard Koh, M.D., M.P.H.

This article was cross-posted from the blog. Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H., is Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Today, I participated in a dialogue about nations lifting HIV-related travel restrictions. I was joined by distinguished colleagues, including the UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr. Michel Sidibe, the Honorable Dr. Richard N. Kamwi, Namibia's Minister of Health, Kevin Moody, CEO of GNP+, and James Chau, UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador. Both Namibia and China lifted such travel restrictions this year.

Last year, President Obama announced that the United States would lift its long-standing HIV-related travel restrictions, overturning a policy that had been in place since 1987.

We view the lifting of this HIV-specific U.S. entry ban as a renewed commitment to global health. The entry ban was originally placed into effect when there was little known about how HIV was spread.

Scientists have long since proved that HIV/AIDS is not spread through casual contact with a person living with HIV. Moreover, HIV is not like some other diseases that might prevent entry into the US, such as tuberculosis, a highly communicable respiratory illness.

The lifting of the travel ban (effective on January 4, 2010) included the following provisions:

  • HIV infection is no longer defined as a communicable disease of public health significance with respect to immigration;
  • Testing for infection is no longer required as part of the U.S. immigration medical screening process; and
  • HIV infection no longer requires a waiver for entry into the United States.

We anticipate that the new U.S. policy will help reduce HIV stigma and discrimination around the world. I have seen such stigma firsthand as a physician who has cared for patients for more than 30 years. People living with HIV should not be viewed with suspicion but rather should receive the care and treatment they need and deserve.

With this announcement, the United States now looks forward to hosting the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC. The International AIDS Conference will be an opportunity for our country to welcome scientists, policy makers, program officials, HIV-positive individuals and others from around the world.

Read more of Positive Policy,'s multi-author blog on law, policy and activism.

This article was provided by TheBody. It is a part of the publication The XVIII International AIDS Conference.

No comments have been made.

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:

Please note: Knowledge about HIV changes rapidly. Note the date of this summary's publication, and before treating patients or employing any therapies described in these materials, verify all information independently. If you are a patient, please consult a doctor or other medical professional before acting on any of the information presented in this summary. For a complete listing of our most recent conference coverage, click here.


The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our content and advertising policies.