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The Navy is opening sea and short-duty assignments outside of the continental U.S. to sailors with HIV or other blood-borne illnesses, according to a spokesman.
Per a directive issued last year by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, the service has revised policy governing assignments for these sailors, and has now begun assigning them to overseas duty stations, Navy Personnel Command spokesman Mike McLellan confirmed in an email.
“Guidance for sailors was approved in August 2013 to implement SECNAVINST 5300.3E,” he said. “Navy Personnel Command is following the direction of the secretary, and has begun assigning sailors with blood-borne pathogens to operational/OCONUS platforms.”
The move was first reported by Stars and Stripes.
Previously, sailors with HIV or other blood-borne illnesses were restricted to duty assignments within the continental U.S., regardless of their physical condition. Now, as long as their illnesses are considered under control with medication, they are able to serve overseas.
Affected sailors who are interested in an overseas assignment must submit a request to Navy Personnel Command, then coordinate with the senior medical officer and commanding officer of their proposed new command to approve the assignment.
Sailors with an upcoming rotation date should contact their detailers to arrange their next orders.
McLellan declined to say how many people are now eligible for overseas assignments or how many have already been assigned.
“At this point, less than 0.1 percent of Navy's population fall into these categories,” he said.
The policy still prevents HIV-positive people from joining the Navy.