The United States will put an end to a 22-year-old travel ban on foreign patients infected with the AIDS virus, President Barack Obama has announced, hailing the move as a step towards ending the stigma of the disease.
REUTERS - President Barack Obama announced on Friday that a 22-year-old ban on allowing people infected with the AIDS virus into the United States will be lifted on Monday.
Obama made the announcement in signing an extension of the the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Act, which provides for education, prevention and treatment programs for U.S. HIV patients.
Obama said the ban was imposed 22 years ago when visitors to the United States were treated 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,” he said.
“If we want to be the global leader in combating HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it,” he said.
He said on Monday his administration will publish a final rule that eliminates the travel ban effective just after the first of 2010.
The AIDS virus infects 33 million people globally and around a million in the United States.
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