Press release

Namibia lifts travel ban for people living with HIV

GENEVA, 8 July 2010 – UNAIDS applauds the decision by the Government of Namibia to lift its travel restrictions for people living with HIV and align the country’s legislation with international public health standards. The reforms—which took effect on 1 July—also remove entry restrictions against people living with other contagious diseases.

Restrictions that limit movement based on HIV-positive status only are discriminatory and violate human rights. There is no evidence that such restrictions prevent HIV transmission or protect public health. Furthermore, HIV-related travel restrictions have no economic justification, as people living with HIV can lead long and productive working lives.

“I am heartened by this announcement in Namibia” said Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director. “HIV-related travel restrictions serve no purpose and hamper the global AIDS response.”

UNAIDS advocates for an individual’s right to freedom of movement — regardless of HIV status.

After the removal of Namibia's restrictions, UNAIDS counts 51 countries, territories, and areas that continue to impose some form of restriction on the entry, stay and residence of people living with HIV based on their HIV status; 5 countries deny visas even for short-term stays; 22 countries deport individuals once their HIV-positive status is discovered.

The United States of America and China removed long-standing HIV-related travel restrictions earlier this year. Several other countries, including the Ukraine, have pledged to take steps to remove such restrictions.

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