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30 Child. Legal Rts. J. 1 (2010)
Protecting Children in America and Abroad: How Recent Abandonment of HIV Waiters Will Affect International Adoption

handle is hein.journals/clrj30 and id is 197 raw text is: 1

Protecting Children in America and Abroad:
How the Recent Abandonment of HIV Waivers
Will Affect International Adoption
By Emily Chrissy Kendall*

I. Introduction
Although perhaps most famous for their castles,
turrets and towers, architects of the Middle Ages did
not limit themselves to the construction of these three
structures. Rather, builders in the Middles Ages
actively engaged in the erection of mini-towns,
colloquially referred to as leper colonies.2 Typically
located on islands or in other remote locations, leper
colonies were designed to sequester those suffering
from leprosy, declared unclean by the general
population, from public places, institutions and
gatherings. People living in the Middle Ages
believed that leprosy was a punishment from God
and extraordinarily contagious, and thus they
quarantined their neighbors, friends and family if
these persons exhibited any signs or symptoms of the
4
disease. Essentially, leper colonies were designed to
prevent an epidemic of a disease of which the
population was both extremely ignorant and
exceedingly afraid.
Advancements in medicine and breakthroughs in
the treatment and prevention of this disease led to the
closing of most leper colonies in modem times.6
Notably, concomitant with the growing under-
standing of the disease and the destigmatization of
those afflicted with it. Once modem medicine gave
the population no reason to be afraid of casual
contraction of the disease, lepers were then able to re-
enter society and move freely from place to place.
However, as anachronistic as it may be, analogous
efforts to separate the diseased from the healthy have
replaced the leper colonies in recent years-the
stigmatization has remained the same but the disease
has changed.
Supplanting leprosy as the fearfully unclean
illness of the 20th and 21st centuries was HIV/AIDS.9
In the 1980s and 1990s, American scientists, world
leaders, doctors and the public were at a loss as to
how to treat, diagnose and even refer to this
disease. 10 Doctors were so puzzled by the condition
that it was not until July 27, 1982, that the word
AIDS was first used in public to describe the
hitherto indescribable condition that had killed over
1,000 Americans in the past year.11 In the almost
three decades since 1982, the world has learned more
about this disease than arguably any other sickness

on the globe, as numerous countries expend massive
financial efforts to study and develop a cure for
AIDS, as well as to create more effective treatment
and preventative measures. 12 The United States has
risen to the position as the global leader in the
world's collective effort to fight, contain and
ultimately cure HIV/AIDS. The United States has
amassed millions of dollars for appropriation to
medical research and scientific discoveries in order to
make the greatest strides possible in the treatment
and discovery of a cure. 14
In stark contrast to these apparent humanitarian
efforts, the United States has also taken efforts to
curb its own HIV/AIDS population.15 In essentially
an inversion of the leper colonies-whose aim was to
consolidate all of the afflicted together in one place-
the United States seeks to simply prevent HIV-
positive individuals from entering its borders.16 To
achieve this exclusion, the United States via its
agency  the   United   States  Citizenship  and
Immigration Services (USCIS) requires individuals
immigrating to this country to be tested for HIV.17 if
the immigrant is HIV-positive, the United States
requires him or her to obtain an approved HIV waiver
before the applicant can enter the country.18 At least,
it used to. Beginning on January 4, 2010, the USCIS,
acting on authority from the Center for Disease
Control (CDC), officially removed HIV from its
list of communicable diseases of public health
significance for which immigrants have to be tested if
they want to become permanent residents of the
United States.19 Starting on that date, HIV-positive
immigrants who have been approved for permanent
status will no longer have to disclose their HIV status
nor apply for a waiver to move to the United States.20
This unprecedented type of de-classification will
have incredible implications for the United States, its
citizens and those seeking to immigrate to the nation.
Specifically, the abandonment of this requirement for
an HIV waiver has the potential to drastically change
the  face  of  international adoption. Multiple
international adoptions agencies purposefully target
American parents as adopters of HIV-positive
babies.21 Prior to the removal of HIV from the list of
communicable diseases of public health significance,
parents faced similar challenges in obtaining
authority to enter the United States for their newly

Vol. 30 * No. 3 * Fall 2010

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