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A row over the availability of visas for visitors from developing nations is casting a shadow over the 14th International AIDS Conference, which opens in Barcelona, Spain on 7 July.

Scientists and journalists from several countries, including India, Colombia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, say that they have had their visa applications blocked by local Spanish embassy officials.

Some applicants have complained that the entry requirements are excessive, whereas others allege that wealthier tourists have been given priority for the fixed quota of available visas.

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Reference: Nature 418, 4 (2002)

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