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AIDS PANEL OPPOSES SCREENING
URGES GOVERNMENT TO STOP HIV QUESTIONING, PASSPORT MARKING

SHARE AIDS PANEL OPPOSES SCREENING
URGES GOVERNMENT TO STOP HIV QUESTIONING, PASSPORT MARKING

AIDS groups around the country are applauding a recommendation that the Bush administration stop screening international visitors for the AIDS virus. AIDS is the acronym for acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

"The HIV policies now enforced by the Immigration Naturalization Service are hypocritical, racist and and must be abolished," said Pat Christen, executive director of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.The National Commission on AIDS made public a resolution Tuesday urging the government to stop asking visitors to the United States if they are infected with HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus that causes AIDS, and to quit marking the passports of those who are.

At least 36 national organizations, including the American Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Red Cross and the National Lawyers' Guild endorsed the new immigration resolution.

Current policies infringe on human rights and dignity "and they reinforce a false impression that AIDS and HIV infection are a general threat," said Dr. June E. Osborn, who chairs the commission. "In fact they are sharply restricted in their mode of transmission."

"This policy is discriminatory, it is unjust, it violates basic human rights, it inflicts unnecessary hardship and embarrassment on an already suffering community," said Charles Carman, president of the World Federation of Hemophilia.

"For too long irrationality, rather than public health, has governed in this area," said Chai R. Feldblum, legislative counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union's AIDS project.