There are many countries around the world that restrict the entry, residence and stay of foreigners who are HIV positive. These countries perpetuate stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV by singling out HIV as a ‘dangerous disease’. While these restrictions are commonly referred to as “travel restrictions”, the effect these laws have on individuals and families is more serious than this term may imply.
People living with HIV often face barriers when they seek to enter other countries as visitors, immigrants, refugees, or for business. Entry regulations are distinguished in special regulations for tourist visas (short-term stays) or for residence visas, student visas and work permits (long-term stays more than 90 days). These barriers are discriminatory, and perpetuate and reinforce the stigma already faced by people living with HIV. Many states that enforce entry restrictions for people with HIV justify their policies wrongly for the purpose of protecting public health and the public purse. But there is no public health rationale for restricting liberty of movement or choice of residence on the grounds of HIV status.