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State Department Lifts HIV Ban For Foreign Service

March 5, 2008

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The U.S. Department of State lifted its ban on admitting HIV-positive persons to the Foreign Service on Feb 15.

The U.S. Department of State lifted its ban on admitting HIV-positive persons to the Foreign Service on Feb 15. Previously, HIV-positive candidates for the American diplomatic corps were disqualified by the agency on the basis that their illness rendered them unready to work anywhere in the world.

The policy change came just weeks before a lawsuit brought by Lambda Legal was scheduled for trial. The group had charged that the HIV ban violated the Federal Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits the federal government from discriminating against people with disabilities.

After consulting with medical experts, the State Department says it changed its medical clearance guidelines. Prospective diplomats who are HIV-positive will now be considered on a case-by-case basis, along with candidates with other ailments like cancer.

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