Policy & Politics
U.S. Officially Ends HIV Travel Ban
November 2, 2009
The White House on Friday announced an end to a 22-year-old travel ban on HIV-positive foreigners visiting the U.S. or seeking residency, the New York Times reports. The newspaper writes that President Barack "Obama announced that a rule canceling the ban would be published on Monday and would take effect after a routine 60-day waiting period" (Preston, 10/30).
According to The Hill, Obama said, "We talk about reducing the stigma of this disease, yet we've treated a visitor living with it as a threat. If we want to be the global leader in combatting HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it" (Zimmerman, 10/30).
The Associated Press/Philadelphia Inquirer reports that "[t]he law effectively has kept out thousands of students, tourists, and refugees and has complicated the adoption of children with HIV" (Superville, 10/31).
According to Agence France-Press, "Obama's predecessor, [President] George W. Bush, signed legislation last year that removed HIV from a list of diseases 'of public health significance' that effectively barred any person infected with HIV from entering the United States." The rule announced by Obama on Friday implemented the law.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon lauded the move: "I urge all other countries with such restrictions to take steps to remove them at the earliest." According to AFP, "Ban has made the lifting of stigma and discrimination connected with AIDS a personal mission, first calling on countries to lift their travel restrictions in 2008 at a UN meeting on the disease" (11/1).
The New York Times reports: "International health officials said lifting the ban would end a much-criticized inconsistency in United States health policy, with Washington playing a leading role in AIDS prevention in Africa and other countries with severe epidemics, but preserving restrictions that in practice prevented international AIDS researchers and activists from gathering at conferences" in the U.S. (10/30).
UN Secretary-General Urges Countries to Follow the United States and Lift Travel Restrictions for People Living With HIV
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.