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Restrictions on people living with HIV lifted

The External Affairs Ministry has clarified that are no travel or residency restrictions for people with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (PLHIV) coming to India.

In an e-mail to all its embassies and consulates, the Ministry of External Affairs has asked all offices to remove the requirement for HIV testing from the visa forms available with Indian embassies and consulates.

International applause

India now puts itself in the company of the United States and China that recently lifted their travel restrictions, prompting applause from PLHIV communities and human rights groups internationally, according to the Forum of Parliamentarians on HIV and AIDS (FPA).

This action was prompted by a parliamentary question on April 15, 2010, by E. M. Sudarsana Natchiappan, Rajya Sabha member and state organiser of the Forum .

Registered organisation

The FPA is a registered organisation with the membership of Parliamentarians from all major political parties. It was started in 2002 as a bipartisan forum for steering the political response to AIDS, in partnership with UNAIDS.

At the behest of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had earlier withdrawn the requirement for HIV testing of foreigners, including students. However, some Indian embassies and consulates continued to display the requirement of HIV test certificate on their websites as well as on visa forms. The latest move from the MEA will ensure that HIV-related questions will not be asked on any visa application forms.

Upholds India's commitment

Welcoming the initiative from the MEA, Oscar Fernandes, Rajya Sabha member and President, FPA, said: “I am pleased that India has clarified its position to lift HIV-related travel restrictions.”

UNAIDS Country Coordinator Charles Gilks said: “Such regulations were issued by many countries in the 1980s when little was known about HIV, and there was more of confusion and fear about the virus.”

Globally there is no evidence that such restrictions prevent HIV transmission or protect public health.

“The MEA move upholds India's commitment to human rights and dignity of all people, including those who are living with HIV,” he added.


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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 5:55:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Restrictions-on-people-living-with-HIV-lifted/article15717157.ece

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