Breakthrough

Obama Eliminates HIV/AIDS Travel Ban

People infected with HIV can now legally enter the United States, after President Obama reversed the 22-year-old policy that banned their entrance into the country on Friday. “If we want to be the global leader in combating HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it,” said President Obama of his decision to lift the ban. Twelve countries currently implement bans of this kind, and the U.S. was the first one to do so, a decision Obama said was “rooted in fear rather than fact.” The president argues that eliminating the policy, a process that began during George W. Bush’s presidency, will keep families together and push people to get tested and treated. Obama announced the decision while signing the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009. The bill honors Ryan White, a 13-year-old who contracted the disease after a blood transfusion and died in 1990 after fighting for the right to attend school. White’s mother was present during Friday’s signing.