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Tajikistan lifts travel ban

Monday, 31 March, 2014

Tajikistan have lifted their travel ban for people living with HIV, meaning that there are now no restrictions on entry, stay and residence in the country based solely on someone’s HIV status. The amendment was signed into law earlier this month, signifying a positive step forward for people living with HIV around the world and for public health in general.

HIV and AIDS stigma and discrimination can manifest itself in many different ways. Restricting where a person can live or travel is one such way, and it is also a clear violation of human rights. Other examples can include being forced to disclose your HIV status or to be subject to a mandatory HIV test, the need for discretionary approval to stay, and the deportation of individuals once their HIV-positive status is discovered. The argument that limiting a person living with HIV’s movements as beneficial to protect public health is unfounded, as the reality is that these punitive laws drive people living with HIV away from vital HIV prevention, testing and treatment services. Unfortunately, many countries around the world still have these punitive laws in place.

The move is welcomed by UNAIDS and by AVERT. With this news there are now 40 countries around the world that impose some sort of travel restriction on people living with HIV.