Only problem with that is that Vitter is my senator.
In my defense, I didn't vote for him.
I contacted both of my senators and with your links it took me under 5 minutes to e-mail them both. Thanks!
Dan, thanks for this!
@3 is right...your links had me all done in under 5 minutes. I encourage people to write their own messages, but here's mine for the purposes of a cut-and-paste:
Dear Senator Cantwell:
I am writing to urge your support for the bipartisan Smith-Kerry HIV Nondiscrimination in Travel and Immigration Act.
It makes me sad that, today, so many years after the start of the HIV crisis, we still treat people with HIV as if they were lepers at the gate. Please help us write a new chapter in America's tradition of being a beacon of hope to people -- not a door slammed shut.
Thanks so much,
Thanks for posting this.
Give me a break. Countries that want to protect their self-interest and the safety of their citizens should be taking MORE steps to ensure we aren't allowing potentially fatal health risks into the country unnecessarily, not fewer. Until there is a cure for HIV, then the US should be doing as much as possible to limit the virus' scope within our borders: that means a combination of vigilant education on the risks of acquiring it, resources to keep people from placing themselves in potentially risky situations where they might be exposed to it, and of course halting the unnecessary and easily preventible influx of HIV positive people within the US that can come as a result of tourism/immigration.
This is one of my main points of contention with Andrew Sullivan, who is usually quite rational in his beliefs but seems to have gone off the deep end when it comes to this issue. It's inconsiderate, selfish and unsafe to think that you deserve the right to uninhibted global travel when you're infected with a virus like HIV.
@6 -- I would amazingly be inclined to agree with you if this was an airborne virus, or one otherwise easily transmitted beyond a very limited means. Of course, you know very well, as do I, that HIV is not this type of virus.
Passing, and contracting, HIV requires conscious acts of reckless behavior (with limited exceptions...we've all heard the "I only licked his wiener and caught AIDS!" stories), and that behavior is the decision of, hopefully, adults. Adults who must suffer the consequences of their actions.
I don't think we should limit immigration based on peoples' abilities to make adult decisions. If we did that, I'd be expelled tomorrow. Maybe today. Nor do I think people should be denied entry, or expelled, for carrying a virus that is relatively hard to contract.
Your points about relentless education regarding transmission modes, etc., are spot on. I just don't think we need to worry about the Big Bad HIV Bogeyman...it's not that scary to me because I can keep it away by saying, "Put on a rubber, dude."
Just for the record, Kerry and Smith are not quite correct about HIV being "the only medical condition that renders people inadmissible to the United States." The relevant bit from INA reads on inadmissibility
(1) Health-related grounds.-
(A) In general.-Any alien-
(i) who is determined (in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services) to have a communicable disease of public health significance, which shall include infection with the etiologic agent for acquired immune deficiency syndrome,
@4 Thanks template!
@4 - I also wanted to say thanks for the cut and paste. It's just the right thing to say. You can add the two senators from Georgia to the list of those contacted.
@9 & @ 10 -- Glad I could help, even a little.
I emailed Boxer and Feinstein.
@6, Because the US doesn't force every tourist coming into this country to take a blood test beforehand, this law is largely unenforcable. In fact, it is only those honest enough to offer their HIV status that suffer. I would venture that someone who is willing to tell the INS about their HIV status would also be mature enough to tell prospective partners about their HIV status. Thus the law keeps out all the people who deal responsibly and maturely with their illness. Why is that something we want?
Thanks Dan for the post! it's about time!
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