Today is World AIDS Day, and I just found this good news item about the US dropping its travel ban on people with HIV coming into the United States. The full removal of the ban takes effect on January 4, 2010.
Ambassador Eric Goosby, the Global AIDS Coordinator said the entry ban was originally placed into effect in 1987 when there was little information on how HIV is spread, and was then codified by Congress.
“Even after scientists had long proved that HIV/AIDS was not spread through casual contact with a person living with HIV, the entry ban remained in place. Only a handful of countries worldwide prohibit HIV-positive travelers from crossing their borders, and the United States has been the only Western country to uphold this discriminatory policy. Last year, Congress finally repealed the law mandating the travel ban, and the Obama Administration was able to remove the remaining regulatory barriers.”
Secretary Clinton announced that the 2012 International AIDS Conference will be held in Washington, DC., the first time the scientific conference would be hosted in the US since 1990.
The event draws 25,000 scientists, policy makers, program officials, HIV-positive individuals and others from all over the world.
“Welcoming conference attendees to our Nation’s capital will allow America to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to ending the HIV pandemic both in the United States and around the world,” said Goosby. “Given that the conference is fundamentally a research conference, holding this event in such close proximity to the National Institutes of Health and other U.S. Government research facilities will also, hopefully, expand the level of scientific discourse between our scientists and researchers from around the world.”
By 2012, the U.S. will have a National HIV/AIDS Strategy in place for the first time in our nation’s history.
“We expect to have made new strides by then to better coordinate HIV prevention and care services across the U.S. Government, as well as to reduce HIV/AIDS disparities,” points out the Ambassador. “The conference will allow us to spotlight our ongoing and continued commitment to the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President’s Global Health Initiative.”
“World AIDS Day is an important day to pause and reflect, and look forward with renewed optimism and vigor.”
(Photo from www.WorldAidsDayHawaii.org)