Now we’re talking. Barack Obama has finally gotten rid of the ridiculous and archaic ban on HIV-positive people traveling to the United States (the US was basically the only country in the Western world with this law). The new rules take effect in January — as the Department of Health and Human Services is given 60 days to enact the new rules — meaning HIV status is no longer a factor in issuing visas or immigration papers.
“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. “