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HIV Travel Ban Lifted in US

January 4th marked a critical moment in social change – the official end of the HIV/AIDS related entry, stay and residence restrictions (more commonly known as the “travel ban” ) in place since 1987. NASW Social Work Speaks policy statements clearly support the removal of the ban, and views this and related restrictions as discriminatory and limiting a client’s right to care and treatment.

Social workers and allied professions have long viewed the ‘travel ban’ as an affront to individual rights. Everyday experiences of clients range from not being able to re-unite with family, friends, or partners because of that persons’ HIV status to limiting equal access to health and behavioral health care services. The ban also resulted in persons with HIV/AIDS denying they were living with a chronic illness. And for untold thousands, the ban limited their ability to apply for citizenship and work visas.

The lifting of the ‘travel ban’ is a necessary next step in the ongoing efforts to address and stop the stigma and discrimination universally experienced by persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

HIV/AIDS Spectrum Project – www.socialworkers.org/practice/hiv_aids

One comment

  1. I stand proud in the presence of my NASW professional colleagues who fought long and hard in assuring human rights and individual dignity are respected. A social injustice was ended when the HIV travel ban was lifted.

    I entered the Social Work profession, and became a member of NASW because I value and respect a profession which takes a firm stand on civil rights written into my country’s consistution. I value self expression, autonomy, and self determination. I will continue to advocate for those facing medical, mental health, and legal challenges, in addition to some of my brothers and sisters and family confronted with physical challenges. It is not enough to hope and pray. I believe one must speak up and take action when the rights of another are disregarded or not respected. What affects one of us affects all of us.

    This year has been particulary moving to me as my home state, the Iowa State Supreme Court, acknowledged the recognition of marriage for all individuals who are covered under our Nations Constitution. Iowa proved to the Nation, and albiet surprised many, by upholding a clear and decisive message “Civil Rights are interpreted to mean the inclusion of all US citizens, and cannot be selected for application to only ‘some’ of the people.” Iowa has a history, beginning in the 1800’s, of assuring constitutional rights. It was one of the first states in the Nation to assure: women have the right to own land; women have the right to be judges and lawyers; and everyone has the right to an interracial marriage.

    Thank you NASW and the state of Iowa for a steller year in standing up for, and assuring, the rights of all people. It is clearly the right thing to do.

    My Grandfather would be proud. My aunt told me of a time when the police where going through his house looking for propoganda, making accusations against him for nothing other than his ethnic background. She told me he was jumping up and down in the front yard, crying and screaming…I am American. I am an American!…in his broken accent.

    Grandpa, the constitution is on our side. And I have to say it again, I am proud to say my Profession and NASW is on our side also.

    Kevin L. Wright, LCSW

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