Today marks a victory for PHR and all of you who have been working to lift the US HIV travel ban. This morning, while signing the fourth reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act, President Obama vowed to “publish a final rule that eliminates the travel ban effective just after the New Year.”
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.
The final rule will remove the HIV infection from the list of “communicable disease of public health significance,” no longer require HIV testing as part of the US immigration screening process and eliminate the need for a waiver to enter the country as an HIV carrier.
Please read Obama’s statement, his first public address about HIV/AIDS where he illustrates his commitment to make the United States a global leader in tackling HIV/AIDS and erasing its stigma. Also check out PHR’s press release on this important victory.
Said PHR CEO Frank Donaghue:
Today is a great day for human rights and for people living with AIDS, their friends and their families. The HIV Travel Ban made the United States a pariah in human rights circles, and harmed our reputation as a world leader of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care. Starting in 2010, people living with HIV will no longer be prevented from entering this country, no longer turned away at customs, no longer forced to hide their condition and interrupt medical treatment, and no longer be treated by our government with contempt.
We’re celebrating in Cambridge and DC; we hope you are too. This is an amazing victory for all of you who have worked so hard to promote and protect the human rights of people living with AIDS!