Archive for Saturday, October 31, 2009

Obama lifts ban on U.S. entry for those with HIV

October 31, 2009


— President Barack Obama said Friday the U.S. will overturn a 22-year-old travel and immigration ban against people with HIV early next year.

The order will be finalized on Monday, Obama said, completing a process begun during the Bush administration.

The U.S. has been among a dozen countries that bar entry to travelers with visas or anyone seeking a green card based on their HIV status.

“If we want to be the global leader in combatting HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it,” Obama said at the White House before signing a bill to extend the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program. Begun in 1990, the program provides medical care, medication and support services to about half a million people, most of them low-income.

The bill is named for an Indiana teenager who contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion at age 13. White went on to fight AIDS-related discrimination against him and others like him and help educate the country about the disease. He died in April 1990 at the age of 18.

His mother, Jeanne White-Ginder, attended the signing ceremony, as did several members of Congress and HIV/AIDS activists.

In 1987, at a time of widespread fear and ignorance about HIV, the Department of Health and Human Services added the disease to the list of communicable diseases that disqualified a person from entering the U.S.

The department tried in 1991 to reverse its decision but was opposed by Congress, which went the other way two years later and made HIV infection the only medical condition explicitly listed under immigration law as grounds for inadmissibility to the U.S.

The law effectively has kept out thousands of students, tourists and refugees and has complicated the adoption of children with HIV. No major international AIDS conference has been held in the U.S. since 1993, because HIV-positive activists and researchers cannot enter the country.

Obama said that by lifting the ban, the U.S. will take a step toward ending the stigma against people with HIV/AIDS, something he said has stopped people from getting tested and has helped spread the disease. More than 1 million people live with HIV/AIDS in the U.S., and more than 56,000 new infections are reported every year.

Obama noted his own effort several years ago to help combat the stigma. During a 2006 visit to Kenya, his father’s native country, then-Sen. Obama and his wife, Michelle, publicly took an HIV/AIDS test.

The 11 other countries that ban HIV-positive travelers and immigrants are: Armenia, Brunei, Iraq, Libya, Moldova, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Sudan, according to the advocacy group Immigration Equality.

Several such groups welcomed Obama’s announcement.

Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality, said the ban pointlessly has barred people from the U.S. and separated families with no benefit to public health.

“Now, those families can be reunited, and the United States can put its mouth where its money is: ending the stigma that perpetuates HIV transmission, supporting science and welcoming those who seek to build a life in this country,” said Tiven, whose organization works for fairness in immigration for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive people.


begin60 8 years, 1 month ago

Well-written, informative article. Happy news. It's Neanderthal of us to maintain a discriminatory policy to which only 12 other backward countries in the whole world cleave. I always wondered why all the AIDS conferences happen halfway around the world.

TopJayhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

More sheer stupidity from the White House.

BONNIEG 8 years, 1 month ago


monkeyhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

I think he doesn't go far enough. We need to let in more people with tuberculosis, bubonic plague, malaria, syphilis, smallpox, etc. We need to "spread the diseases" more evenly.

With all the control measures this administration wants to put into place, one might just get the idea that they really want to thin the population. Pretty far fetched, huh? So was the thought of a government grab of 30% of private wealth, and in such a short period of time.

staff04 8 years, 1 month ago

"More sheer stupidity from the White House."

Process of doing this started during the last Administration. Glad to see "stupidity" isn't a partisan thing for you.

"I think he doesn't go far enough. We need to let in more people with tuberculosis, bubonic plague, malaria, syphilis, smallpox, etc. We need to “spread the diseases” more evenly"

Actually, none of those diseases are on the list of diseases that would prevent someone from entering the US...I suppose to know that would require reading more than just the headline.

Marion, it says a lot about your motives here that you advocate keeping ranks with "Armenia, Brunei, Iraq, Libya, Moldova, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Sudan." Didn't you recently post some tripe howling about Obama extending a traditional expression of respect to a Saudi leader? And now you think we should take policy advice from them?

Amy Heeter 8 years, 1 month ago

OMG there is so much education on AIDS out there and it is free. Nobody is in danger of contacting aids because the ban is lifted. Blood banks and hospitals test for aids now so the chances of getting tainted blood is rare to none. Keep your raincoat handy and don't play with other people's brain fluids. You should be fine.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

"Actually, none of those diseases are on the list of diseases that would prevent someone from entering the US…I suppose to know that would require reading more than just the headline."

Ms. elite staffer, perhaps you missed my point. I should have capitalized MORE for you, the angry pit bull.

staff04 8 years, 1 month ago

So you suggest that we allow MORE than as many as want to come? That we lift the limit of no limit? That makes so much more sense. Thanks for the emphasis.

tomatogrower 8 years, 1 month ago

Armenia, Brunei, Iraq, Libya, Moldova, Oman, Qata, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan Actually, I've noticed most of the extreme right wingers sound exactly like the extreme right wingers in these countries, just replace Islam with Christianity.

AIDS is not easily transmitted, so what is the worry? Do you still not use public toilets or shake hands with someone who has AIDS? I'll bet you even stopped eating pork, so you won't catch the "swine" flu. Please don't show off your ignorance to all of us. It's unbecoming.

Sean Livingstone 8 years, 1 month ago

Before you begin your rattling of nonsensical comments tying Obama to some idiotic policy of opening our doors to HIV, I'm sure none of those people have checked the lists of countries that ban the entry of those who are infected with HIV, and none of those who made these negative comments know anything about HIV.

So what are these countries that ban the entry of people with HIV: China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Sudan, Qatar, Brunei, Oman, Moldova, Russia, Armenia and South Korea. Nice to know that Japan ain't even on the list. Nice. A step towards? Socialism! Communism..... apparently. So can I use the same words on the conservatives? Oh, you're so communistic, because you ban people with HIV to enter our country!

So how HIV is spread? Of course, it spreads like malaria, tuberculosis, bubonic plague, malaria, syphilis, smallpox...... and maybe H1N1. Run, run run.... here comes all the HIV infected people! Oh.... I thought it's spread through blood, and sex? So why should I have sex or have any contacts with these people?

My my my..... now I totally understand why people are hooked onto some ignorant news channel.....

Sean Livingstone 8 years, 1 month ago


13 countries can be so right......... whatever Obama is doing, you're just so against.... so many people have become so irrational....

tomatogrower 8 years, 1 month ago

So, Marion, how will people with just a Visa cost us money. If anything, they might be coming here to pay for some treatment thus spending money here, including their hotel rooms, food, etc. If you don't want to get AIDS, don't have sex, unless you get married after an AIDS test. Of course that could be Marion's problem. It would require commitment. Or is it not sharing the needles?

9070811 8 years, 1 month ago

I'm extremely disturbed that most of you disagree with this reversal.

Sean Livingstone 8 years, 1 month ago

Marion, rather than giving your own opinion, how about seeking advise from some more reliable information sources? You're just like the unreliable news source that I mentioned in one of my previous posts. That's dangerous... very dangerous.... you can analyze the scenario however you want, base on your own opinion. You can reject these reliable information sources as elite publications.

Just like that news challenge, you use one case to prove that your theory is right, while neglecting the real statistics. One man means a lot more than the entire population. I keep seeing advertisement on television against healthcare because one "Canadian" told me so.... that's not scientific enough..... and the news network keeps saying that tea party represents the majority.... well.... 5% of the population showing up means the majority? It's more like minority forcing their agendas into the majority. Geeze....

Back to this HIV stuff.... no one ever come to America for sex. Unless you think that the American hospital system is really crappy, that it cannot detect those who are HIV-infected..... so if we're so protected, why are you worried about 1-2 nuts running around in HIV and trying to infect us? Because of 1 possible person, you're denying the entire population? Seems very "communist" and "facist" to me? Don't you think?

Sean Livingstone 8 years, 1 month ago

"9070811 (Anonymous) says… I'm extremely disturbed that most of you disagree with this reversal."

It's more against Obama than the reversal.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 1 month ago

I believe you are in error there livingstone. I hesitate to say this but Marion was speaking out about AIDS long before Obama became president. If you look Back at older posts you find that this is true. Now having said that I hope the worms don't start crawling out of their cans.

jumpin_catfish 8 years, 1 month ago

Obama's plan is clear, bankrupt the USA.

1029 8 years, 1 month ago

This is absurd. How many more Americans are going to catch the AIDS because of this? Most of the people that come into the country are probably going to head straight to Lawrence and start loitering downtown. And what if they do make the steakhouse into a homeless shelter? I wouldn't want people with the AIDS wandering around my neighborhood terrorizing the schoolchildren. Especially if they don't even speak English. Liberal democrats are ruining this country, from Obama all the way down to the city commission.

staff04 8 years, 1 month ago

porch, in Marion's defense, I honestly believe that he isn't homophobic. An idiot and a guy who can't control racist impulses, yes. A homophobe? Probably not.

I still find it hilarious that just a couple of weeks ago he blasted Obama's gesture towards Saudi royalty and today he is pissed that we aren't behaving like the Saudis.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 1 month ago

You must remember that Marion thought the Mexican border should have been closed to keep H1N1 away.

Such a health expert he is.

denak 8 years, 1 month ago

".....This is absurd. How many more Americans are going to catch the AIDS because of this?...."

Probably the exact same amount of people who go down to a bar on a Friday night and have unprotected sex with a native-born American.

HIV doesn't ask for someone's visa status. If an immigrant is careful and doesn't take unneccessary risks, then he or she is no risk to anyone else.


50YearResident 8 years, 1 month ago

For those of you that think no travel restrictions for HIV positive people is justified and good. How would like the idea if Obama decides there will be no travel restrictions for those infected with H1N1? Would you still think it is OK with you and your loved ones when flu patients are traveling around the country without restrictions?

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