UKIP deputy leader: ‘We face problems caused by migrants with HIV’

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UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall has defended Nigel Farage’s remarks that migrants living with HIV should not be allowed to enter Britain.

In a statement published online yesterday about the UK’s response to the Ebola crisis, Mr Nuttall said it was a cost issue for the country.

“Our borders are frighteningly lax and it’s not just illegal immigrants coming in that cause major problems, but transmittable diseases,” the MEP said.

“I fear it may only be a matter of time before there are Ebola cases in the UK and it is absolutely vital that there are stringent safeguards in place, not just questionnaires, to try to prevent it getting into our communities unchecked.

“But I also believe that we face problems caused by migrants with HIV and tuberculosis and they should be barred from long term stay.

“There are around 60 countries that currently bar people who are HIV-positive from entry, according to the United Nations, and we should follow suit.”

He continued: “The cost of treating someone with HIV in the UK is estimated at around £18,000 per year, although this does vary depending on the type and number of drugs taken and the stage of the infection.

“Although we have sympathy for those with HIV/AIDS, people from abroad with life-threatening long term illnesses place an unacceptable burden on the taxpayer funded NHS and we all know the pressure it is under.

“We should introduce systems similar to those in Australia and Canada where long term admission is basically barred if migrants health conditions are considered a danger to public health or safety or would cause excessive demand on the health care system.

“Those are sensible measures. We are an overcrowded island and have a duty to protect those who live here,” he concluded.

Last Friday, UKIP leader Nigel Farage defended comments suggesting immigrants who are HIV positive should not be allowed to come to the UK.

In an interview in Newsweek Europe, Mr Farage said he wanted to “control the quantity and quality of people who come… people who do not have HIV”.

Mr Farage later told the BBC he would extend the ban to “people with tuberculosis too”.

Campaigners condemned the UKIP leader’s comments.

Yusef Azad of the National AIDS Trust said: “Nigel Farage’s comments on banning people with HIV from migrating to the UK are both ignorant and discriminatory.

“If Mr Farage believes a migrant with HIV cannot make a net contribution to our society, he believes the same about UK-born citizens with HIV.

“That is factually incorrect and deeply stigmatising. To call for entry bans, to lump people with HIV in with criminals, to describe HIV as simply as a ‘life-threatening disease’ are relics from the bad-old days of AIDS panic.

“They don’t contain the spread of HIV, they drive the spread of HIV.”

UKIP’s newly-elected MP, Douglas Carswell then claimed that Mr Farage’s call to ban people with HIV from entering the UK wasn’t “serious”.

Mr Carswell’s father is an eminent physician who is regarded as having been one of the first medical researchers to identify HIV while working in Uganda.

However, UKIP MEP Gerard Batten gave a robust defence of Mr Farage’s comments.

He said: “Why would you let someone in if they have such a dangerous disease. I think you should look at the immigration policy of other countries around the world, and I think most countries already have that rule.”