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UK Politician Criticised for Immigration Comments

A UK politician was criticised last week for commenting that people with HIV should be banned from migrating to the UK.

Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) praised some aspects of Australia's immigration system, and suggested that some of their policies should be adopted in the UK.

In an interview with Newsweek Europe, Farage said he wanted to limit the 'quantity and quality' of migrants coming to the UK. He said 'It's simple. That Latvian convicted murderer shouldn't have been allowed here. Yes and people who do not have HIV, to be frank.'

However these comments have outraged many, including Dr Rosemarie Gillespie, chief executive of UK HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, who commented that 'In bracketing those living with the condition with murderers, and suggesting that there is no place for them in his vision of Britain, Mr Farage has stooped to a new level of ignorance.'

Farage's interview took place prior to the by-election victory of UKIP politician Douglas Carswell, who became the first UKIP MP.

Carswell's father Dr Wilson Carswell was a leading HIV/AIDS researcher in Uganda in the 1970s and 80s, and was one of the first physicians to diagnose the disease.

After the election Carswell appeared to distance himself from Farage's comments, saying that 'No one is seriously suggesting we should screen people for HIV coming in,' he told the BBC.

'What I think Nigel rightly said is we need a system like in Australia, a tough system to control our borders but it's got to be humane.'

Australia's immigration policy doesn't mean that people with HIV/AIDS are automatically excluded from visa applications, however it takes into account the Medicare costs, and visa approvals are based on these figures.

Rob Lake, CEO of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) says that even though visa approvals are based on cost considerations in relation to HIV treatments, it effectively 'filters out' anyone who has the disease as the medication costs are so high.

He also suggested that it should be Australia moving towards the UK policies on immigration of people with HIV; not the other way around.