President Obama announces US HIV travel ban will end in January 2010

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US President Barack Obama has announced that the ban on HIV-positive people entering the US will finally end early in the new year.

Speaking in Washington, President Obama said that the removal of the ban would “encourage people to get tested and get treatment, it’s a step that will keep families together, and it’s a step that will save lives.” His announcement was greeted by applause.

A final rule removing the travel ban will be published on Monday November 2nd. After a statutory 60-day period, travel to the US for HIV-positive individuals will no longer be the subject of special restrictions.

Moves to remove the ban on HIV-positive non-US citizens visiting for migrating to the US started during the final stages of the Bush administration. In 2008, President Bush signed an act that repealed a law expressly forbidding HIV-positive non-US citizens to enter the US other than in exceptional circumstances. However, HIV-positive travellers were still forbidden to enter the country because of pre-existing regulations.

As reported earlier this week on, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the removal of restrictions on travel and migration to the US by individuals with HIV. Most of the responses the CDC received during this consultation were supportive of the removal of the ban.

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