Friday, October 30, 2009

President Obama Lifts HIV Travel Ban

hat tip - the Daily Dish

U.S. President Barack Obama signs the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 as Jeanne White-Ginder (2nd R), mother of Ryan White, looks on in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, October 30, 2009. White was 13 years old when he was diagnosed with AIDS in 1984 after contracting the disease from a blood-clotting agent used to treat his hemophilia and was barred from school out of fear of spreading the disease.
-----REUTERS/Jim Young

Obama lifts HIV ban
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is lifting the United States’ travel ban for those who are HIV-positive.

Obama said Friday that the order will be finalized on Monday, completing a process begun during the Bush administration. The U.S. has been one of only about a dozen countries that bar entry to travelers based on their HIV status. The ban has been in place for over 20 years.

The announcement came during Obama’s signing of an extension of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS bill.

At a small ceremony at the White House, Obama signed legislation that authorizes the program created in 1990 to continue. The government’s Ryan White program provides medical care, medication and support services to about a half a million people, most low-income.

Submitted by Bill Dalton on October 30, 2009 - 11:33am.

President Obama's remarks on the subject:

A couple of years ago Michelle and I were in Africa and we tried to combat the stigma when we were in Kenya by taking a public HIV/AIDS test. And I'm proud to announce today we're about to take another step towards ending that stigma.
Twenty-two years ago, in a decision rooted in fear rather than fact, the United States instituted a travel ban on entry into the country for people living with HIV/AIDS. Now, we talk about reducing the stigma of this disease -- yet we've treated a visitor living with it as a threat. We lead the world when it comes to helping stem the AIDS pandemic -- yet we are one of only a dozen countries that still bar people from HIV from entering our own country.If we want to be the global leader in combating HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it.

And that's why, on Monday my administration will publish a final rule that eliminates the travel ban effective just after the New Year. Congress and President Bush began this process last year, and they ought to be commended for it. We are finishing the job. It's a step that will encourage people to get tested and get treatment, it's a step that will keep families together, and it's a step that will save lives.

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