Back in 1985, when knowledge of HIV began to spread, governments reacted by passing immigration laws to restrict the entry of HIV positive individuals. These laws required such individuals to either declare their HIV status or undergo mandatory HIV testing to secure entry. As justification for these initiatives, many countries claimed to be preserving the public health and their domestic economy. The United States, China, and Russia are three countries that have had, or still have, some form of HIV immigration restrictions. Initially, it may seem logical that preventing HIV positive individuals from entering a country will cut down on the spread of HIV and save the economy from health care costs. Nevertheless, an analysis of the HIV travel restrictions of these three countries will show that the public health and economic reasoning behind such laws is flawed because HIV is not spread by casual contact and because economic goals can be accomplished with less restrictive means. Moreover, this article will further reveal that HIV travel restrictions contribute to several health concerns and create issues with confidentially and stigmatization.
In the end, a comparative analysis of these three countries, with specific attention paid to their successes and failures, reveals that the best system is one that works on both an international and domestic level. On the international level, border *90 testing must be voluntary, confidential, and informed. It should also utilize pre and post test counseling, and not be used to restrict entry. On the domestic level, individual countries need to educate the public and create programs to address high-risk groups responsible for the rapid spread of HIV. In doing so, society will find not only that it is more effectively protecting itself from the spread of HIV, but also that it is protecting the HIV community from the stigma and discrimination that contributed to the rapid spread of HIV in the first place.
Recommended CitationMatthew J. DeFazio, Guarding International Borders Against HIV: A Comparative Study in Futility, 25 Pace Int'l L. Rev. 89 (2013)
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