End Discrimination in India Against Foreigners Living with HIV

Target: Anil Goswami, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreigners Division

Goal: Develop uniform policies regarding HIV testing for foreign-born individuals staying in India

If you are a foreigner with a history of HIV and you are planning to visit or live in India, you may be subject by the government to HIV testing and be deported if you test positively. Although back in 2002 India abolished mandatory HIV testing for foreign-born individuals entering India, many government websites still state that a mandatory test is necessary. This lack of uniformity in policy creates confusion and discriminates against those living with HIV.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India abolished mandatory HIV testing for foreigners in an effort to end stigma against individuals affected by HIV, but bodies such as Indian embassies still have visa applications that require applicants to subject themselves to AIDS testing within a month of arriving in India. Those who do test positively are denied entry to India or deported if already within the country.

There is a great stigmatism against those living with HIV in India already and miscommunication over foreigners’ requirements for entry and residence does nothing to improve the situation. India’s government must take greater efforts to review their policies and remove information that does not comply with its 2002 reforms.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Anil Goswami,

In 2002 the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India abolished mandatory HIV testing for foreigners in an effort to end stigma against individuals affected by HIV. However, your government still has websites stating that mandatory HIV testing is necessary for foreigners entering, staying or residing in India. Similarly, India’s embassies still have visa applications that require applicants to subject themselves to AIDS testing within a month of arriving in India. Those who do test positively are denied entry to India or deported if already within the country.

This lack of uniformity in policy creates confusion and discriminates against those living with HIV. In the Constitution of India’s Right to Information Act of 2005, India pledges to circulate accurate information in a timely manner. However, the fact that government applications and websites have not yet been updated violates India’s commitment to combat stigmatism toward those living with HIV. India’s government must take action to review its policies and remove information that does not comply with its 2002 reforms.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Google Images

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