UKIP leader Nigel Farage has been strongly criticised for saying that people who are HIV positive should be banned from migrating to Britain.
When Newsweek Europe asked him what sort of people should be allowed to migrate to Britain, Mr Farage said: “People who do not have HIV, to be frank. That’s a good start. And people with a skill.”
He later defended his position by telling Radio 4’s Today Programme that a similar ban operated in the US.
“We should do what America does, what Australia does, what every country in the world does. We want people who have trade and skills. But we do not want people with criminal records and we cannot afford to have people with life threatening diseases,” he said.
Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s largest HIV and sexual health charity said Mr Farage had shown “an outrageous lack of understanding” over such a sensitive issue.
Dr Rosemary Gillespie, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “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.
“It is to the UK’s credit that for more than three decades successive governments, no matter their political stamp, have refused to put in place border controls against people living with HIV. Major international organisations, including the United Nations, agree that such draconian measures would have no impact on the epidemic. 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.”