UKIP leader Farage calls for ban on immigrants carrying HIV
HIV campaigners on Friday said British political leader Nigel Farage, whose party has just won its first seat in parliament, should be "truly ashamed" after calling for an immigration ban on people carrying the virus.
The Terrence Higgins Trust, Britain's oldest HIV and Aids charity, said comments made by the leader of the anti-EU UK Independence Party as polls were closing in the Clacton by-election -- won by his candidate Douglas Carswell -- displayed a "new level of ignorance".
"The idea that having HIV should be used as a black mark against someone's name is ridiculous and shows an outrageous lack of understanding of the issue," said the charity's Rosemary Gillespie.
"In bracketing those living with the condition with murderers, and suggesting there is no place for them in his vision of Britain, Mr Farage has stooped to a new level of ignorance. He should be truly ashamed," she added.
When asked by Newsweek Europe who should be allowed to enter Britain, the anti-immigration leader replied: "People who do not have HIV, to be frank. That's a good start."
He refused to retract the comments in a later interview with BBC radio, saying that the country's public services couldn't cope with the extra demand.
"We want people to come who have got trades and skills but we don't want people who have got criminals records and we can't afford people with life threatening diseases," he said.
"I do not think people with life threatening diseases should be treated by our national health service and that is an absolute essential condition for working out a proper immigration policy.
"We have leading cancer experts in Britain saying the burden now of treating overseas people is leading to huge shortages in the system."
He argued that Britain should follow similar bans in place in the United States and Australia.
Around 40 percent of new HIV diagnoses in 2013 were of people born outside the UK, according to Public Health England.
UKIP won its first seat in the House of Commons Friday with Conservative defector Carswell's victory in the seaside town of Clacton.
The party also narrowly lost out on a shock victory in a second by-election on Thursday in Heywood and Middleton, traditionally a stronghold of the main opposition Labour party.
© 2014 AFP