Report: It Might Take 2 Years for Foreigners With AIDS to Enter U.S. Despite New Law

It has been more than 20 years since the United States has allowed foreigners with HIV or AIDS to legally enter the country, and it could be two more before they will be able to despite a new law.

President Bush last week signed into law a bill that, among other things, drops the ban on HIV/AIDS positive foreigners entering the United States. It was part of a $50 billion package that dramatically increased funding to fight AIDS in Africa.

The San Antonio Express-News reports that the Congressional Budget Office predicted it would take two years for new rules to take place once the Department of Health and Human Services wrote and adopted the new rules to comply with the legislation.

Primarily, HIV needs to be deleted from the agency's list of “communicable diseases of public health significance,” which includes tuberculosis, gonorrhea and leprosy, the Express-News says.

Advocates of the change told the paper that despite delays, the hardest part is now over.

“Today everyone knows that you can't get AIDS from sitting next to someone on an airplane or sharing a bathroom — American policy should reflect this,” said Victoria Neilson, legal director of the New York-based Immigration Equality.

Click here to read the full report in the San Antonio Express-News.