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For Immediate Release

Sebelius Must Act Swiftly to Lift HIV Travel Ban upon Confirmation

US is one of only 14 nations that bar entry of people living with HIV or require disclosure for short-term stays

Cambridge, Mass - 03/02/2009

(Cambridge, Mass.) Physicians for Human Rights urges Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Kathleen Sebelius to act swiftly to lift the nation's HIV travel ban on people living with HIV.

Said Pat Daoust, RN, MSN, Director of PHR's Health Action AIDS campaign, "The restrictions denying people living with HIV entry into the United States violate their human rights and place the US among a group of only nine nations that bar entry of those with HIV for any reason or length of time. Congress lifted the statutory ban last summer and now the Obama Administration must finish the job by removing HIV from the list of communicable diseases that prevent entry into the country. It is far past time for the US to join the community of nations whose HIV entry policies are rooted in sound public health practices rather than bigotry and hysteria."

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

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