For most of us, 1st December is just another day of the year, the start of the end of another year. But for some, this marks an important day. The World Aids Day demonstrates our solidarity for people living with HIV and also remembering those who lost their lives battling this disease.
While we talk about solidarity and equality, there are nations which blatantly discriminate against HIV patients by putting one or the other form of travel restrictions on them. More than 60 countries, territories and areas in the world have a specific travel restriction policy for people with HIV.
While 35 countries, territories and areas around the world impose some sort of restriction on the entry, stay and residence of people living with HIV, 17 countries deport people once their HIV-positive status is confirmed.
Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, Turks and Caicos Islands require a person to show that they are HIV-negative for them to be allowed to stay in the country even for a short duration. A complete ban on entry and stay on people with HIV is prevalent at Brunei Darussalam, Oman, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
At a time when we talk about equal rights for everyone, how justified is it to put travel restrictions on people living with HIV? There are people around the world who live with the daily realisation of unequal freedom of movement. The UNAIDS aim is to eliminate aids by 2030. So while we are at it, the more important thing is to eliminate these travel restrictions and allow these people the same freedom that everyone else enjoys.
As the theme for this year goes, the time to end is now!
About the author:
Kanan Budhiraja loves to read, travel, write and play Xbox in her spare time.. Tekken is a favourite!