For the last 22 years, foreign citizens living with HIV or AIDS have been forbidden to legally enter the US. As of Monday, that ban will be a thing of the past. On Friday, President Obama announced the decision to overturn the policy he called "rooted in fear rather than fact." He said:
"We talk about reducing the stigma of this disease — yet we've treated a visitor living with it as a threat. We lead the world when it comes to helping stem the AIDS pandemic — yet we are one of only a dozen countries that still bar people from HIV from entering our own country. If we want to be the global leader in combating HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it."
Before this decision, the US joined a less-than-impressive list of countries that banned HIV-positive outsiders. The list still includes: Armenia, Colombia, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sudan, and Yemen. Considering there are already Americans living with HIV/AIDS, it served little purpose to "quarantine" the country. I'm happy to see that our HIV/AIDS prevention strategies will no longer include an ineffective and discriminatory ban.