Today marks the end of an era – and I have to say that I’m happy to see it go. The US travel ban for HIV+ persons is officially over. According to CNN:
The Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention removed HIV infection from the list of diseases that prevent non-U.S. citizens from entering the country . . .
Advocates for HIV-positive people said the new policy was long overdue, calling it “a significant step forward for the United States.”
“The end of the HIV travel and immigration ban is the beginning of a new life for countless families and thousands who had been separated because of this policy,” said Steve Ralls, spokesman for Immigration Equality, a national rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive individuals. “This is a new beginning for them.”
I can understand banning someone from entering the United States if they have tuberculosis, which is an airborne illness. It’s not like you can catch HIV by sitting next to someone on an airplane. HIV isn’t the swine flu. You can’t get it from someone sneezing on you. I’m glad that the US is finally coming around to a stage of enlightenment on the issue.
Here’s to hoping that the Obama administration will continue to make headway on HIV, by increasing the funds for HIV prevention and services that were slashed during the Bush administration.