On Wednesday, he Department of Defense (DOD) announced recently that it had updated its guidelines regarding the recruitment of potentially HIV-positive individuals, now opening the door to letting people with the deadly disease serve in the military.
As reported by the Daily Caller, the DOD said that any members who test positive for the virus may continue to serve so long as they do not display any clear symptoms, according to a department memo that was recently made public.
“Individuals who have been identified as HIV-positive, are asymptomatic, and who have a clinically confirmed undetectable viral load…will have no restrictions applied to their deployability or to their ability to commission while a service member solely on the basis of their HIV-positive status,” the memo reads in part. “Nor will such individuals be discharged or separated solely on the basis of their HIV-positive status.”
Meanwhile, the military continues to discharge anyone who refuses to take a vaccine for the Coronavirus, a restriction first announced in September of last year that the Pentagon began enforcing in January. Despite numerous requests for religious and medical exemptions, nearly all exemptions were denied, and the vast majority of those who refuse to submit to the mandate have been discharged. The Supreme Court ultimately upheld the Biden Administration’s military vaccine policy in March, even as it struck down other vaccine-related restrictions across the country.
“In view of significant advances in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Secretary Austin has directed updates to the Department’s policies with respect to HIV-positive personnel who are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces,” said a DOD spokesperson. “Just as all Service members must receive required vaccinations to be considered militarily ready, HIV-positive Service members will need to adhere to a treatment regimen that renders them asymptomatic and with a clinically confirmed undetectable viral load to be covered by the updated guidance.”
The Pentagon further claimed that recent advancements in the medical and scientific field have allowed HIV-positive members to serve, and thus believes that the new guidelines are justified.
“In view of significant advances in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV),” the June 6th memo continued, “it is necessary to update DOD policy with respect to individuals who have been identified as HIV-positive.”