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HIV and AIDS patients being banned from immigration.

 
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Apr, 2007 03:08 am
I don't pretend to be expert on this (HIV) subject, but I do believe I know quite a bit about Australia's prime minister & the motives for many of his public utterances. When we talk about HIV migrants/asylum seekers, we in Oz are taking Africans - Somalis, Ethiopians & the Sudanese. Almost 100% of them here asylum seekers. Everyone knows that. Our prime minister is facing a tough election fight. I have noticed that we now have a new - just about weekly - utterance, employing what we call "the race card" (usually about Muslims). Meaning statements that appeal to some folks' racist beliefs. It's a vote winner! I think this is the basis of this comment from John Howard. HIV & migration have not been, to the best of my knowledge, a major cause of concern till now. His comments are not in response to some recent health scare caused by HIV infected migrants/asylum seekers (most HIV concern here is about young peoples' reduced lack of concern about "safe sex"). IMHO, this is yet another of his (many) racist scare tactics. He is that cynical. And that desperate to win this coming election.
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Apr, 2007 04:08 am
...... so I guess the next logical question (given John Howard's great concern about the spread of HIV here) is how will he tackle the increased rate of all sexually transmitted diseases in Oz society (including HIV)? It appears (from the latest media reports) that the most "at risk" sector of the population is young Australian people who are ignoring the "safe sex" message.
What is his plan?
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Apr, 2007 05:41 am
Huh?

I thought he got a question that arose out of the HIV in Victoria hooha?

I thought he just seemed unprepared for the question.


I honestly don't know if, much as I loathe him, he would start in on the Africans! I can't see what he would have to gain.....his government actually has quite a program of targeting countries in that continent for refugee intakes, I understood?

(I am basing that on recent discussions I have been having with the refugee support arm of the local child protection authorities, who are struggling to deal with the massive problems experienced by those who comprise the recent influx of deeply traumatised African refugees...lots of them young people..)


Do you have a reason, apart from general distrust, for thinking he is about to try to create another election winning drama, targeting Africans?

As for HIV stats.....as I understand it we do have a bit of a spike in infection rates, as younger people become sexually active or inject without "getting" the risks, and there is a bit of a safe sex weariness in the gay community.


But, overall, Oz is a real success story re HIV containment, I thought???


I mean, I agree re the desperation, and willingness to use anything, I am just not seeing this as an example of it......but perhaps you have been reading stuff I haven't read?
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Apr, 2007 06:15 am
From all the recent reports I have read or heard, the AIDS/HIV message has for some reason lost it's impact dramatically over recent years. People (especially young people) are apparently not following prescribed "safe sex" practices. This appears (from many recent media reports I've heard) to be causing great concern amongst health professionals. Yes Oz was indeed a success story, but apparently a lot of ground has been lost since that early ad campaign.

John Howard, to my knowledge, has made few (if any at all!) public statements about HIV concerns prior till now. Which other migrants could he possibly be referring to? Surely, if his newly found "concerns" are to be taken seriously, he needs to tackle the issue in a much more determined way, across the whole of Oz society? This is certainly not happening. At the moment it's just talk on his part. No action at all.

I'm not sure about what you mean by the "Victorian hooha".
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Apr, 2007 07:08 am
You might be interested: some AGE readers' responses to John Howard's HIV statement. Today's letters to the editor:


An inhumane response to human miseryKate Crofts, Southbank


Tell that to a rape victim

HOW can Australia have a "Women at Risk" program, welcoming single women and mothers from refugee camps, many who have been raped, and then turn away women with HIV? Sexual assault is a weapon of war, and in many regions experiencing conflict people become infected through rape, often in refugee camps, in Africa, at the Thai-Burma border, or in countries with borders with Afghanistan and Iraq. How can we deny them refugee status? Being a refugee is about the strength of one's refugee claim, not about one's health.

Joanne Kirk and Sophie Dutertre, program co-ordinators, Asylum Seeker
Resource Centre, West Melbourne


People before prejudice

SURELY what the PM said cannot be right. As a party to the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Australia has an obligation to protect and respect people's right to health. Non-discrimination, equal treatment and respect for a person's dignity are vital to the right to health. People, whether they are HIV positive or have other diseases such a heart condition or diabetes, should be able to visit Australia or escape persecution.
We are sure the Government will put people, not prejudice, first.

Andrew Hewett, executive director, Oxfam Australia

The wrong scapegoat

THE increasing number of new diagnoses of HIV infection in Victoria and other states such as Queensland is of major concern to all. But it is not an immigration issue and the emerging trends do not suggest that there need be any review of Australia's immigration policy.

We know that most new infections in Australia are still occurring in men who have sex with men, not migrants. And the 70 people referred to by Health Minister Bronwyn Pike (The Age, 14/4) were Australian citizens or long-term residents diagnosed elsewhere in Australia, not international immigrants. It is incorrect to link the rise in HIV diagnoses to international immigration. This is a domestic issue that deserves our attention.

Australia has a proud history of an open, tolerant, evidence-based approach to HIV prevention that engages, not marginalises, affected communities. We need to maintain these principles and not try to find a simple quick fix to a complex issue.

Levinia Crooks, CEO, Australasian Society for HIV Medicine

http://www.theage.com.au/letters/index.html?page=fullpage
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Apr, 2007 07:30 am
msolga wrote:
From all the recent reports I have read or heard, the AIDS/HIV message has for some reason lost it's impact dramatically over recent years. People (especially young people) are apparently not following prescribed "safe sex" practices. This appears (from many recent media reports I've heard) to be causing great concern amongst health professionals. Yes Oz was indeed a success story, but apparently a lot of ground has been lost since that early ad campaign.

John Howard, to my knowledge, has made few (if any at all!) public statements about HIV concerns prior till now. Which other migrants could he possibly be referring to? Surely, if his newly found "concerns" are to be taken seriously, he needs to tackle the issue in a much more determined way, across the whole of Oz society? This is certainly not happening. At the moment it's just talk on his part. No action at all.

I'm not sure about what you mean by the "Victorian hooha".



Yes, AIDS messages HAVE lost impact....I suspect this is due to the intensity of campaigns having become less, plus they just don't see lots of people dying, as our generation did.

I don't get what you think this has to do with Howard's comments?


Has he decreased funding in Oz to educate people?



The Victorian hooha, was about concerns expressed about the number of new people with AIDS moving to Victoria, which created some kind discussion in your state.


I caught the end of an ABC radio discussion about that, which seemed to be suggesting that a lot of these "new" cases are not new at all, but are Australians moving to Victoria, with already diagnosed disease, who, when they report for medical care in your state, get tested again as part of their general care.

My sense (and I can't find anything really detailed about the whole interview) is that Howard was asked about letting people with HIV in as a result of the discussion about the "new" cases in Victoria.



While I know that a lot of people who are HIV positive trying to migrate here will be African and Asian, I really think it is a leap (in this case) to say that Howard is inspired by racism.


He may well be inspired by prejudice against people with HIV, and I agree there is a huge issue re equity and compassion about decreasing the number of people with HIV being allowed to immigrate. I would oppose policy change re that.


I repeat, however, that the facts are that this government's policy has been especially welcoming of African refugees, having trageted a number of countries where the situation is especially horriffic. I also note that African leaders have acknowledged this, while saying the comments are racist.

They may be.....I can't read the man's mind re this, but I do not see that there is much evidence of that, except the sad reality about where AIDS is most prevalent.




I haven't heard about him supporting Alan Jones, by the way.

Can you recall what he said, off the top of your head?
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Apr, 2007 07:52 am
I don't want to go on & on about it, Deb, but the first migrant group I thought of when I heard Howard's statement was African asylum seekers.

I think there's a case to be made that the rise in HIV infected Victorians & Queenslanders isn't necessarily as a result of immigration, but of factors within Australia.

A response to Howard's remarks from Africans at an international AIDS workshop.:

Howard's HIV remarks anger Africans
Monday Apr 16 15:12 AEST
Australian Prime Minister John Howard's suggestion that he would consider banning HIV-positive migrants has angered African AIDS experts at an international AIDS workshop. .....

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=261184

Yes indeed, Howard called Alan Jones an "outstanding broadcaster" & said he'd done nothing wrong, Kevin Rudd supported him, as did Helen Coonan - this was after the Oz media authority found he had vilified the Lebanese and worsened the conflict at Cronulla. Heaps on this on the Oz thread.
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