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Bush signs HIV repeal

Within days of the US Congress voting to lift its ban on HIV-positive travellers, US President George W Bush signed the bill Jul 30.

Now the Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] confirms it too is in the process of repealing the ban.

Shelly Diaz, spokesperson for the US Center for Disease Control which answers to the health department, told Xtra West Aug 7 that the ban will be lifted completely.

“HHS is beginning the rule-making process to remove HIV from the excludable list,” she says. Diaz couldn’t elaborate on what steps must be taken to amend the list or when the process will be completed.

“We are a compassionate nation and that’s what this bill says loud and clear,” Bush said in a statement upon signing the bill.

The Human Rights Campaign, an American gay rights group, praised all parties for signing the bill and promised to pressure the health department to remove HIV-positive people from its list of excludable people.

“We’re going to keep on top of HHS until the ban is lifted and HIV is taken off the list,” adds Victoria Neilson of Immigration Equality.

Until HHS officially announces that it has amended its list to lift the travel ban, HIV-positive travellers seeking to enter the US are still advised to try to obtain a waiver.