Sexual Health news - Sexual Health and Behavior

U.S. Navy revises policy to allow HIV-positive service members to serve overseas

Ever since the U.S. Navy began testing for HIV in the 1980s, the military branch has pursued a policy of preventing its HIV-positive sailors and Marines from serving on foreign soil and forcing them to visit a military health facility with an infectious disease doctor every six months. According to OutServe Magazine, this travel restriction could affect a service member's ability to advance in rank and lead some individuals to become less competitive in achieving their career milestones. The Navy quietly altered its policy over the past year, which has put an end to the ban on overseas deployments for those with the sexually transmitted disease. Still, for many advocates, the change hadn't come soon enough.

"The military delivers HIV care in the most impoverished places on the planet, like Sub-Saharan Africa. Yet for some reason, they don't believe they can deliver care for service members outside of the United States," Matthew Rose, a former member of the National Coalition for LGBT Health told the news outlet. "What's more, in any major industrialized city you can find [an infectious disease] doctor or at least a place that can run labs and interpret results."

According to ThinkProgress.org, the change in the Navy's policy reflects the progressive outlook that the branch of the military has taken. Instead of keeping antiquated policies in place, the Navy has decided to judge its sailors and Marines only on their capabilities as service members and eliminate any regulations that could hurt a member's ability to move up the ranks or turn down a chance to re-enlist.

The Navy is the first military branch to make this change for its service members, while others like the Army, Air Force and Coast Guard have similar measures in place that may change in the future as well.
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