Am I the only one who finds John Howard’s comments here difficult to understand? Or am I getting senile or something, because the reaction to these new guidelines has been very muted. The new system proposed by Tony Abbott would require visa applicants over the age of 15 to be tested for HIV/AIDS, where they could be denied entrance on an individual basis, and I find that troubling.
While it’s a good idea to have people declare/be tested to see if they are HIV-positive (as we often do anyway), it’s verging on discrimination for Australia to deny entry to immigrants and refugees purely because they are HIV-positive. It’s scaremongering; we need precautions, not to exclude an entire community of people who need help.
HIV is not like tuberculosis, SARS or other viruses which could pose an immediate danger to the population; if properly managed people can live with HIV for a decade or more before it becomes AIDS, and the vast majority of people with HIV are responsible about not infecting other people. You can’t blame the majority of infected patients for what others do maliciously, and to not allow someone to come to Australia purely because of a health condition is immoral.
In addition to that some AIDS activists have indicated that any rise in infection rates has more to do with people who don’t know they are infected practicing unsafe sex, than migrants and refugees. Perhaps the government should look at doing more to raise awareness and testing for HIV amongst all people, rather than trying to secure our borders against an imagined threat.