John Kirk-Anderson / Goods
HIV treatment is publicly funded in New Zealand. (Photo file)
A man living with HIV has lost her appeal against deportation, despite arguing she will not be able to access the treatment she needs in Argentina.
A 38 year old male, identified only as AD, was created human appeal to the Immigration and Protection Court to be allowed to stay.
AD came to New Zealand in 2019 and was granted a student visa. He then acquired visitor visa and moved in with her current husband, who is a resident of New Zealand.
As of January 2020, the male visitor’s visa has expired, and he is now considered entry New Zealand illegally.
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AD told the court that she was abused in Argentina because of her sexuality, and she would not be able to access HIV treatment if she returned.
He said he experienced harassment and discrimination from friends, family and classmates when they found out he was gay.
Ending HIV: Treating so that HIV can’t be transmitted (video first published in June 2018).
He attempted suicide more than once, started abusing cocaine, and was assaulted on the street before coming to New Zealand for a fresh start.
“I learned a new language, did volunteer work, didn’t use cocaine and met my partner who gave me a sense of security, compassion and helped me get rid of drugs.”
The AD says he previously had private prepaid HIV treatment in Argentina, but the health system there is now collapsing and there is a shortage of drugs.
“My immune system is very at risk if I get deported. I can’t access antiretroviral treatment and my health protection. Covid-19 has ravaged Argentina,” she says.
“My friend also has HIV, he could never live in Argentina in safety. He will not be treated as a foreigner … We cannot survive Covid. “
Despite this, the court found that the man did not have an extraordinary humanitarian condition, and his appeal was rejected.
It admitted that separating from her partner would stress her out, but she could apply for a new visa based on her relationship, the ruling said.
“Waiting for the request, the couple can maintain contact via electronic means, such as video calls.”
The court also acknowledged the shortage of HIV drugs in Argentina, but said AD was already funding its own treatment in New Zealand, so the situation was no different.
New Zealand AIDS Foundation chief executive Dr Jason Myers said Argentina had funded public HIV treatment, but that there were sometimes problems with access to treatment.
“We know that Covid-19 also has a further impact on the availability of medicines, worldwide.”
Myers said he hoped the man could re-enter the country on a partnership visa.
“Despite being a world leader in many aspects of the HIV response, New Zealand’s immigration law still tends to exclude those living with HIV seeking housing and visas,” he said.
“The New Zealand AIDS Foundation is currently advocating removing HIV from the immigration list from a high-cost environment that is thought to impose significant costs on the health system.”
Where to get help for the LGBTQI + community
- NZ Outline 0800 688 5463 (OUTLINE 0800)
- RainbowYOUTH 09376 4155
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- Depression.org.nz 0800 111 757 or SMS 4202
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- Suicide Crisis Helpline 0508 828 865 (0508 SUPPORT)
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- Youthline 0800 376 633, free texts 234, email [email protected], or find online chat and other support options here.
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