Australian Health Minister Tony Abbott and Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews have advised Prime Minister John Howard to adopt a policy that would require HIV-positive migrants to report to health authorities within one month of arriving in Australia or risk losing their visas.
Australian Prime Minister Howard in April in a radio interview said his “initial reaction is no” to a question of whether HIV-positive people should be permitted to enter the country, although he said he needed “more counsel” on the issue.
Howard recently wrote letters to the country’s ministers of immigration and health asking about the public health implications of letting HIV-positive people migrate to the country.
Howard last month said he is preparing a plan that would tighten regulations concerning HIV-positive migrants seeking to enter the country. The plan could prevent HIV-positive people from entering Australia or track their movements throughout the country.
HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, is the virus that causes AIDS, a debilitating and deadly disease of the human immune system. HIV is one of the world’s most serious health problems: at the end of 2001, more than 40 million people worldwide were infected with HIV and living with the virus or AIDS.