President Barack Obama's lifting of the ban on travel into the United States by HIV-positive persons takes effect today. The move comes 22 years after, to quote Radio Netherlands, it "was introduced at the peak of the AIDS epidemic under then President Ronald Reagan."
In 2012 the United States will, for the 1st time, host the biannual World Aids Conference.
Obama had announced the plan to end the ban back in October, when he signed into law the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 (right). (credit for Doug Mills/New York Times photo) At the time, BBC reported,
President Obama said the entry ban had been 'rooted in fear rather than fact'. He said: '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 with HIV from entering our own country.'
Not any more.