Women

05.24.13

Travel Woes for the HIV-Positive

Despite the lifting of a travel ban, infected immigrants to the U.S. find it hard to visit home.

In 1987, before we understood how HIV was transmitted, the U.S. imposed a travel ban on those infected with the disease. It wasn’t lifted until January 2010—and despite the reversal, immigrants still come up against legal, financial, and medical hardships when considering trips to their homelands. The costs for paperwork to return to the U.S. are prohibitively high, and when coupled with expensive medical bills and flights to distant lands, many, like Tanzanian Fortunata Kasege, doubt they’ll ever be able to visit their families. Worse, if they do get home and find themselves stranded there, countries like Fung A Loi’s native Suriname have weaker health care and stronger stigmas against AIDS. Living far away from home is one more burden of living with the disease.