Under Australia's existing immigration arrangements, all people over the age of 15 who apply for permanent residence are tested for HIV. People under 15 are tested if either of their parents is HIV-positive, if they are an applicant for an adoption or child visa or an unaccompanied humanitarian visa, or if there are clinical indications or a history of possible infection. Temporary visa applicants are screened for HIV if they are seeking to work as a doctor, dentist or nurse.
Permanent visa applicants with a medical condition are automatically knocked back if the lifetime cost of their treatment exceeds $21,000.
The Immigration Department estimates the lifetime cost of an HIV-positive person is $240,000 to $250,000. In 2005-06, HIV-positive people accounted for 48% of requests for health waivers in cases where lifetime medical costs exceeded $200,000.
So Australia is being used by non-resident HIV sufferers who gain a health waver as a way of paying for the medical costs of their HIV infection. Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations spokesman Don Baxter said people with HIV ‘contribute enormously to Australia's benefit’. They would want to be contributing a lot given the infection risks they pose in the Australian community and the huge health costs they pose on us.
Australia’s HIV infection rate has soared since 1998. It would be negligent of any government to admit to Australia immigrants it knew was suffering from HIV. Do not admit them and do not give health waivers to those who come here with HIV.
One claim cited in the Arab Times is that Australia might be guilty of discrimination. It is discrimination but what a great idea discrimination in this instance. Australian citizens with HIV should receive normal health assistance. Those with HIV who live elsewhere should continue to live elsewhere. Australians who want to live with their HIV-infected partner in Australia should post a non-refundable $245,000 bond with the Commonwealth Government covering their partner’s heath costs attributable to HIV/AIDS. They should also be liable for any damage costs incurred by the partner as a consequence of spreading the HIV virus.
The claim that immigrants provide only a small component of HIV cases in Australia is not an argument for admitting those who are affected by HIV. Its an argument shoewing that the costs of excluding those with a serious disease that works against our national interest HIV is a small one to those excluded.