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Kathleen Sebelius on Repeal of the HIV Travel Ban

Kathleen Sebelius (pictured), Secretary of Health and Human Services, issued the following statement yesterday regarding repeal of the HIV Travel and Immigration Ban. The official rule change, which will go into effect at the beginning of 2010, was published in Monday’s federal register.

“Today, we will publish a rule in the Federal Register announcing that the United States will drop HIV from the list of diseases barring visitors from entering this country, effective Jan. 1, 2010.

Though the United States has been a leader worldwide when it comes to ending the stigma of HIV/AIDS, we`ve been one of only 12 countries who, by their policies, still enable the myth that HIV/AIDS is a threat. Lifting the HIV ‘entry ban’ represents the same blow against stigma that Ryan White himself fought for from the time he was 13 years old and contracted HIV/AIDS.

It`s appropriate that the nation is taking the final step to lift the entry ban as President Obama signs the fourth reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act. The ability to travel freely and have access to affordable health care should be available to everyone. This change has been a long time coming, and I am pleased
it is happening now.”