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Can I get legal status in the United States if I am HIV positive?
An HIV test is required for people applying for legal permanent residency in the United States. You may be denied residency if you test positive. However, this is not necessarily always the case. You should seek help from a legal professional if you are in the process of applying for a green card. If you are applying for citizenship ("naturalization") and have therefore already been a legal resident for five years, your HIV status will have no impact on your application. Whatever your legal status you can still receive healthcare from city institutions; however, obtaining the correct benefits is a complicated issue, and you may not be eligible for all the programs available. Seeking help from a legal professional would be appropriate.
Will I lose my immigration status?
If you are HIV-positive, your application for permanent residency will be denied unless you qualify for an HIV waiver. U.S. law requires anyone interested in immigrating into the country to take an HIV test, so it is important to learn your HIV status before beginning the immigration process. Those who are already permanent residents and are interested in becoming U.S. citizens do not have to take an HIV test. There is no requirement that legal permanent residents applying to naturalize must take a medical exam, nor is there a ban on HIV-positive people becoming citizens.
Can I be deported because I am HIV positive?
If you are undocumented and do not have current valid immigration papers, there is always the possibility of deportation, regardless of your HIV status. However, there is no reason for the INS to know the results of your HIV test results. Seeking testing or treatment will NOT get you deported. If you cannot receive the same quality of health care in your home country as in the US you may be able to get permission to stay under a program called "voluntary departure," which can be obtained with the help of a legal professional.
What is a waiver? How do I qualify for one?
HIV-positive people from other countries are almost completely banned from entering the U.S., but with an HIV waiver, you may be able to get around this strict policy. Those who are HIV-positive and are applying for a non-immigrant visa may qualify for an HIV waiver if planning to stay in the U.S. for 30 days or less. This waiver grants special permission to enter the U.S. To qualify, you must:
|Able to cover your medical bills if you become ill while in the U.S.|
|Do not pose a danger to public health in the U.S.|
|You may also qualify for a waiver if the intent of your visit to the U.S. is to attend a “designated event,” such as an AIDS conference.|
Currently, there is an estimated 525 known HIV-positives offenders in the custody of Louisiana Department of Corrections. Upon entering the state's correctional system, all offenders are able to receive an HIV antibody test at the Louisiana Department of Correction’s three intake centers:
Forcht Wade Correctional Center
7990 Caddo Dr
Keithville, LA 71047
Elayn Hunt Correctional Center
6925 Highway 74
St Gabriel, LA 70776
Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women
7205 Highway 74
St Gabriel, LA 70776
Many correctional centers offer support groups for HIV+ offenders.
I am a HIV positive offender who will be released
When a known HIV+ offender is within 180 days of being released they start meeting with the Corrections Specialist once a month until they are released. The Corrections Specialist works with the offender on linking them to medical care to wherever they are going, even if it is out of state.
The goal of the Corrections Specialist is to prevent treatment interruption. The Corrections Specialist does the following:
The Louisiana STD/HIV Program has been able to establish great working relationship with the LA Department of Corrections. We are currently working with offenders in the following centers:
To contact a Corrections Specialist:
Phone: (225) 925-4480
I am a HIV positive offender who has alread been released…but I never talked
to a Corrections Specialist
Click the map on the right to view a PDF of locations and contact the HIV/AIDS Service Organization nearest you.