It was a historic moment last week when President Obama announced the end of the discriminatory US HIV Travel Ban.
So what does that mean exactly? Well starting in 2010, people living with HIV will no longer be barred from entering the United States, and they will no longer turned away at borders, no longer forced to hide their condition and interrupt medical treatment.
Here’s a quote from President Obama:
“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. And that's why, on Monday my administration will publish a final rule that eliminates the travel ban effective just after the New Year.”
The Foundation would like to acknowledge the hard work of Physicians for Human Rights, an organization that mobilizes health professionals to advance health, dignity and justice and promotes the rights to health for all. Physicians for Human Rights has been at the forefront of the movement to end the HIV travel ban. They have helped organize thousands of Americans who wrote moving comments to the Centers for Disease Control, urging them to end the ban.
Their efforts, along with those of everyday Americans who have taken steps to protect the health, dignity and human rights of people living with AIDS worldwide is not something to be understated. This decision is surely an uplift to human rights worldwide. It is, as Physicians for Human Rights wrote in a press release last week, “a monumental policy change.”