Removal of HIV From List of Communicable Diseases of Public Health Significance

On November 2, 2009 the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS/CDC), published a Final Rule in the Federal Register to remove Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection from the list of communicable diseases of public health significance and remove references to required HIV testing from the scope of medical examinations for aliens. Effective January 4, 2010, HHS/CDC will not require that visa applicants mandated to receive medical examinations undergo testing for HIV. In addition HIV-positive visa applicants will not be found ineligible for visas under Section 212(a)(1)(A)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

After January 4, 2010, foreign travelers will no longer be ineligible for a visa or inadmissible into the United States based solely on the ground they are infected with HIV and will not be required to undergo HIV testing as part of the required visa medical examination. Immigrant visa applicants (including children being adopted by U.S. citizens) must continue to undergo a medical examination by a panel physician designated by U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

The removal of HIV from the list of communicable diseases that are routinely screened during the immigrant visa examination does not prevent prospective adoptive parents from getting their own in-depth medical examination done overseas. Prospective adoptive parents may wish to arrange an additional private medical examination with more in-depth testing of the child for conditions not included in the visa medical examination.

The purpose of the visa medical examination is to provide the U.S. Government with information to identify persons with serious infectious or contagious diseases. The scope of the examination is not designed to evaluate an applicant’s overall health or to provide medical care for all illnesses to a sick child, and is limited by U.S. immigration law. Prospective adoptive parents are encouraged not to rely on the required medical examination done by panel physicians to detect whether a serious medical condition exists.

Questions and answers regarding this change may be viewed at:
http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/news/effective-january-4--2010-hiv-infection-is-removed-from-the-cdc-.html

For information on the final rule, check the Centers for Disease Control’s website at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/laws_regs/fed_reg/remove-hiv/full-version-final-rule.html