Immigration and Travel
People living with HIV/AIDS often face unnecessary barriers when they seek to enter other countries as visitors, immigrants, or refugees. These barriers are often discriminatory, perpetuating and reinforcing the stigma already suffered by immigrants and refugees, by people living with HIV/AIDS, and by people from developing countries.
States that erect entry barriers for people with HIV justify their policies as necessary to protect public health and the public purse. But HIV is not communicable through casual contact. Thus, the United Nations has stated that “there is no public health rationale for restricting liberty of movement or choice of residence on the grounds of HIV status”.
Concerns about the cost to the public health care system often reflect discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS. But regardless of whether they live with HIV, cancer, or any other chronic illness, all people have the capacity to make important contributions to the societies they join — contributions that often outweigh any costs for medical care. Where people living with HIV face persecution in their countries of origin, or where they seek to be reunited with family members, humanitarian concerns and international law should and often do compel countries to admit them.
People living with HIV should not face discriminatory or unnecessary barriers to their freedom of movement. We analyze Canadian and international immigration policies and laws, and work with governments and advocacy groups to ensure that those laws respect the human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.