NORFOLK ISLAND DROPS PLAN TO BAN HIV SUFFERERS

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KINGSTON, Norfolk Island, Australia (February 26, 2002 – Radio Australia)---Norfolk Island's Legislative Assembly has dropped controversial legislation that would have banned people with HIV or hepatitis B or C from moving to the island.

The Australian Federation of AIDS's Don Baxter said AIDS-related organizations are relieved that the island's government has opted to conduct a full review of its immigration policy.

He said they had made many representations to the government that rather than simply ban people with certain diseases, assessment should be made on the basis of their overall health status.

"The justification was given as undue cost on the health care system," Mr. Baxter said, "and yet there are more expensive diseases than treatment of HIV and especially hepatitis B, which is virtually nothing. So it was clearly just prejudice dressed up as a public health cost argument."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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