Pentagon eases restrictions on HIV-positive military members
The Pentagon will no longer automatically ban people who are HIV-positive from joining the US military.
Driving the news: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a memo the military updated its HIV policies due to "significant advances in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of" HIV as the impetus for the policy change.
- The new policy that took effect Monday says military members who are HIV-positive, asymptomatic or who have a confirmed but undetectable viral load can still be deployed and remain in service.
- These military members cannot be discharged or separated from service based on their HIV-positive status, either.
The big picture: The memo reverses a previous policy that allowed commanders to separate troops with HIV and prevent them from deploying.
- A federal court decision ruled the Department of Defense's policies were unlawful, CNN reports.
By the numbers: The Congressional Research Service found in 2019 that 350 service members were diagnosed with HIV every year.