Removing the HIV Barrier
The Sept. 26 editorial "De Facto Discrimination; Foreigners who are HIV-positive still can't enter the United States" incorrectly asserted that the Department of Health and Human Services "still has to decide" to revise rules so that HIV-positive noncitizens may be admitted to the United States.
In fact, HHS has clearly stated our intent to remove HIV infection as an inadmissible condition for entering the United States. We are already preparing the revised rule.
Because the rulemaking process requires a public comment period, which takes time to do, the Bush administration took an interim step last Monday. The Department of Homeland Security, after seeking extensive public comment, published a final rule that streamlines the waiver process permitting HIV-positive individuals to visit the United States. This would make it easier for them to gain admission to our country for up to 30 days, whether they visit as tourists or participants at HIV-AIDS conferences.
Again, this administration is committed to removing HIV infection as soon as possible from the list of communicable diseases that prohibit entry to the United States -- a fact demonstrated by this interim step and the process underway at HHS.
JULIE L. GERBERDING
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention