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A number of MPs have put their name to a suggested amendment to the Immigration Bill that would see new restrictions on people with HIV visiting the UK.

Phillip Lee - the MP who introduced the amendment that charities are saying shows a "shameful lack of understanding"
Phillip Lee – the MP who introduced the amendment that charities are saying shows a “shameful lack of understanding”

The amendment, which has been proposed by Phillip Lee MP (con), would place new restrictions on people with HIV and Hepatitis moving to or working in the UK.

A number of other MPs have supported the ammendment, including: Stephen Phillips, Stephen Barclay, Tracey Crouch, Dominic Raab, Graham Brady, Charlotte Leslie, Mark Field, Nigel Mills, Jonathan Djanogly, Chris Kelly, Bob Blackman, Jonathan Lord, Craig Whittaker, Conor Burns, Karl McCartney, Sir Gerald Howarth and Sarah Wollaston.

It is worth noting that two of the MPs involved are former doctors, but no longer practise. Perhaps a good thing in our opinion.

The proposed amendment is as follows:

  1. The Secretary of State may by order provide that persons who apply for immigration permission must demonstrate that they are not carriers of any of the prescribed pathogens listed in subsection (2).
  2. The prescribed pathogens are—
    (a) Hepatitis B;
    (b) HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus);
    (c) such other pathogens as the Secretary of State may prescribe by order under this section.’.

The UK has signed the June 2011 Declaration on HIV and AIDS under which member states are encouraged to “eliminate HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence.”

Daisy Ellis, Head of Parliamentary & Public Affairs at Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), said:

“It’s outrageous that a group of MPs are even proposing such an un-evidenced amendment. If implemented, it would represent the most draconian policy enforced on people with HIV by this country to date.”

“It is to the UK’s credit that its Government, whatever its political stamp, has consistently refused throughout the past 30 years to put in place HIV-related border controls. Such a poorly thought through about-face would take UK HIV policy into a new Dark Age.”

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of the National AIDS Trust (NAT), says:

“This amendment shows that there remains a shameful lack of understanding about HIV among some of our elected representatives.

 “UNAIDS has shown conclusively that entry restrictions on people living with HIV do not protect public health and are a wasteful diversion in the fight against HIV.   And far from being ‘drains’ on the public purse – as this amendment seems to suggest – people living with HIV contribute hugely to the UK’s society and economy.

 “The UK has for 30 years resisted entry restrictions and to introduce them at this stage would set us squarely against the international trend to overturn such rules.  This is HIV prejudice in its purest form. 

“If these MPs are really interested in protecting public health through immigration policy, they would oppose the current Department of Health plans to limit migrant access to primary care services, which are vital for disease prevention and early treatment.   They would support efforts to reduce the unacceptable high rates of late and undiagnosed HIV in our community.”

Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, has previously said on the issue:

“One of the most long-standing and disturbing  indicators of discrimination against people living with HIV has been restrictions on entry, stay and residence  based on positive HIV status. We must eliminate such  restrictions as well as other punitive laws that demean  people living with HIV and block effective responses to AIDS.“

beyondpositive urges each of you to write your MP and object in the strongest terms to this amendment to the Immigration Bill. You can find contact details for your MP at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/

8 COMMENTS

  1. Those who flee their own country on asylum seeker grounds,would their application automatically be refused on the grounds of being hiv positive if the ammendment was accepted.

  2. Though I’ve no doubt this amendment will be rejected, it does expose these Tory MPs as bigoted and uneducated. It’s worrying that these people were elected to represent us.

  3. My response to my MP Charlotte Leslie, one of the proponents of this disgusting amendment:

    Dear Charlotte Leslie,

    I am writing with regards to your supporting an amendment to the
    immigration bill with regards to people living with HIV.

    This is an outrageous step backwards in both my personal opinion and
    those of the national HIV organisations. As a nation we have worked
    tirelessly over the last 30 years to reduce the stigma and
    discrimination which can make the lives of those living with HIV
    absolute hell. Yet you wish to reverse this policy?

    Countries around the world, including the United States have removed
    such discriminating practices in recent years yet you have put your
    name to this amendment! Visitors to the UK should be made welcome.
    Preventing those with HIV from visiting the UK is both discriminatory,
    unnecessary and labels those people both here and abroad as second
    class citizens. There is NO medical case for such provision.

    A significant number of those men and women living with HIV are gay and
    note that your history on voting positively for equal rights for LGBT
    people is non-existent.

    I implore you to place yourself on the right side of history for a
    change and distance yourself from this discriminatory, degrading and
    homophobic legislation. It serves no purpose but to anger those of us
    living with and/or know friends living with HIV.

    Yours sincerely,

    Ivan Jackson

    • As a fellow Bristolian, I shall be writing to her too – I’m quite naive about this sort of stuff having only been diagnosed in the last 2 years – I’ve much to learn still.

  4. If you were diagnosed with one of these diseases would you be refused entry back to your own home. It’s ridiculous in the extreme.

  5. I would ignore the media hyteria. As part of the EU Covention, no EU country is allowed to bar someone because of their HIV status. If the UK did this, they would be breaking the law. The only ooutrage I see are those few MPs that tabled this disgusting amendment, who should know beter. Ignore the story as a whole – it will not happen. The amendment has now been withdrawn.

    • Indeed,
      I think my letter to my MP portrays my dismay enough and highlights her dismal record on LGBT issues.

  6. It flopped in the USA…so let’s try it here why? Just because we’ve got nothing better to do…not a failed economy, not a society full of criminal bankers, not a generation of educated idiots…no, nothing to do here…

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