40 CEOs call on countries to lift HIV travel bans

Deportation. Detention. Barred entry. These are just some of the scenarios that people with HIV have to deal with when it comes to international travel.

By Emily Jane Fox from money.cnn.com

Now, CEOs from 40 well-known companies are calling for countries to get rid of their HIV-related travel restrictions. Corporate leaders say the travel restrictions are discriminatory and detrimental to the globalized economy, in which companies have to be free to send employees around the world.

Currently, 45 countries have laws or policies in place that deport, detain or deny entry to people who are HIV positive, according to UNAIDS, the United Nation’s program on HIV/AIDS. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

Five countries in the Middle East bar people living with HIV from entering. Another five, including Singapore, Egypt and the Turks and Caicos, require that people who want to stay in their countries for longer than five days have to show they do not have HIV.

Until recently, the U.S. too had regulations that barred HIV-infected foreign nationals from receiving a visa to enter the country. President Obama lifted them in January 2010.

The American restrictions were introduced in 1987, when Congress directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to add HIV to its list of diseases of public health significance. Foreign nationals were tested for the immunodeficiency virus during medical screening by U.S. immigration.