Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday was a good day for President Obama Ending the 22-year ban on travel to the U.S. by HIV-people, a promise Obama made to gay advocates during the campaign, the president said the restriction was “rooted in fear rather than fact.”
“If we want to be a global leader in combating HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it. We talk about reducing the stigma of this disease, yet we’ve treated a visitor living with it as a threat.”
The U.S. was one of only about a dozen countries that bar people with HIV from entering the country. Countries with such travel bans on include Brunei, China, Russia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
Enacted in 1987, during the dark days of the Reagan era, when fear that HIV could be transmitted by casual contact, the ban was further strengthened by Congress in 1993 as an amendment offered by the viciously homophobic Sen. Jesse Helms, a Republican from North Carolina.
In a related story, President Obama on Friday signed the Ryan White AIDS Care Act, the largest federal program providing assistance to low-income people with HIV or AIDS, allocating $2.1 billion.