Singapore ends ban on visitors with HIV

PinkNews logo on pink background with rainbow corners.

Singapore will no longer ban people with HIV from visiting the country.

The country moved to change its two-decade old rules, which were drawn up at a time when there was no known treatment for AIDS and little was known about HIV.

The rules had permanently blacklisted all people with HIV from travelling to the country, purportedly on safety grounds.

However, the government confirmed that people with HIV will now be able to visit the country – as long as they do not exceed a three-month stay.

The ban was lifted “given the current context with more than 5,000 Singapore residents living with HIV and the availability of effective treatment for the disease”.

A spokesperson added: “The policy on the repatriation and permanent blacklisting of HIV-positive foreigners was recommended in the late 1980s when the disease was new, fatal and no effective treatment was available.”

The ‘three-month’ restriction is supposedly designed to prevent foreigners from taking up a long-term residence in Singapore, as supposedly “the public health risk posed by long-stayers is not insignificant”.

Roy Chan of Action for AIDS welcomed the move.

He said: “While things have improved slightly, we cannot forget that many are still being asked to leave their jobs and are ostracised by friends and family because of HIV infection. Many still suffer alone, and have trouble securing jobs and health insurance.

“We need a supportive environment that does not discriminate against a person because he or she is HIV infected. The repeal of the short-term entry ban is one such example of what we need to do.”

While controls on people with HIV may seem outdated and blunt, UKIP leader Nigel Farage recently suggested that a similar approach be taken in the UK.

When asked which kinds of people should be allowed to enter the UK last year, Mr Farage said: “People who do not have HIV, to be frank. That’s a good start.”

He also repeatedly claimed that the NHS is “incapable” of treating Britons with HIV, because of migrants.

However, questions were raised about the validity of his statistics – with experts debunking nearly all of his claims.