Haitian Immigrant brought AIDS to US

This report, originally from Reuters, was published all over the world yesterday.

The strain of HIV that touched off the US AIDS epidemic and fueled the global scourge of the disease came to the continent from Africa via Haiti, according to a study released Monday.

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“Haiti was the stepping stone the virus took when it left central Africa and started its sweep around the world,” said Michael Worobey, an assistant professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and senior author of the paper.

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The deadly virus probably arrived on US shores in about 1969, more than a decade before the full-blown US AIDS crisis of the 1980s, and may have been carried there by a single Haitian immigrant, according to the study.

What relevance to refugees?   During the Clinton Administration the ban on immigrants with HIV AIDS was lifted and refugees with AIDS are permitted entry into the US.   We pay for their treatment upon arrival.  This was confirmed by State Dept. representatives at the September Forum in Hagerstown.

From 1983 to 2005 we admitted 28,625 Haitians with the lions share resettled in Florida.  Just a reminder that the 2005 ORR Annual report to Congress is a handy source of information.   See Appendix A for country of origin and resettlement state.

Note:  We may soon make available DVD copies of the Public Forum on Refugee Resettlement held in Hagerstown, MD on September 19, 2007.    If you are new to RRW you might want to review the September Forum category here.

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