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UNAIDS calls for lifting of HIV-related travel restrictions

by Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) March 7, 2008
People with HIV face travel restrictions from some 74 nations, with 13 banning those with the disease from entering the countries completely, UNAIDS said Friday.

In addition, others infected while in their destination country can face deportation "often without confidentiality and into situations of great discrimination and economic devastation", the UN programme on AIDS and HIV said in a statement.

The travel restrictions based on HIV status show the "exceptionality of AIDS", said UNAIDS executive director Peter Piot.

"No other condition prevents people from entering countries for business, tourism, or to attend meetings," he said.

"No other condition has people afraid of having their baggage searched for medication at the border, with the result that they are denied entry or worse, detained and then deported back to their country," he added.

An international task force on HIV-related travel restrictions, comprising governments, UN agencies and intergovernmental groups, civil society and people infected by the disease, met for the first time on February 25 and 26 in Geneva.

UNAIDS, which co-chairs the task force with the Norwegian government, said: "We hope that their combined efforts will ... influence governments to remove such restrictions."

The task force plans to raise this at several meetings in the coming months, including a high-level meeting on AIDS at the UN General Assembly in New York in June, and at the Global Forum on Migration and Development to be held in October in the Philippines.

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Bush urges Congress to pass bigger AIDS program for Africa
Washington (AFP) Feb 28, 2008
US President George W. Bush urged Congress Thursday to quickly pass legislation tripling funds for a program to combat AIDS and malaria in the world's poorest countries, mainly in Africa.

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