MEP calls for EU strategy on HIV ahead of World AIDS Day

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Across the world people will mark World AIDS Day on December 1st, its 20th anniversary.

Today the European Parliament unanimously voted in favour of a resolution on the early diagnosis and early care for those living with HIV/AIDS.

“In this resolution we are calling for the European Council and the Commission to step up their campaign against HIV and AIDS, especially to make more openly available early testing for the disease”, said Michael  Cashman, one of only two out gay MEPs and a co-sponsor of the resolution.

“There is also a lot more to be done to combat the discrimination and stigmatisation against people who are living with HIV/AIDS. We need to say that what happens to you is as though it happens to me, or my daughter, or my son.

“The work that the European Union has done to prevent, treat and draw awareness to HIV/AIDS has been significant, but we still need to do more to achieve a leading strategy in response to the ever increasing HIV/AIDS prevalence.”

The Euro Parliament’s resolution will provide a clear direction for the EU’s 27 Member States to formulate a strategy to fight HIV/AIDS.

MEPs successfully lobbied for the end of the effective ban on HIV+ people entering the United States earlier this year.

In July President Bush signed the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Act, which lifts the ban on HIV positive people from entering the United States.

The bulk of the legislation aims to fight AIDS in the developing world. MEPs had pressured the European Commission to raise the issue in talks on visa arrangements between the EU and US.

At present any foreign national who tests positive for HIV is “inadmissible,” meaning he or she is barred from permanent residence and even short-term travel in the United States.

In October the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will issue regulations which purport to “streamline” the waiver application process for HIV-positive short-term visitors.