October 30, 2009 / 4:54 PM / in 10 years

Obama lifts ban on U.S. entry of those with HIV/AIDS

U.S. President Barack Obama (C) signs the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 as Jeanne White-Ginder (2nd R), mother of Ryan White, looks on in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, October 30, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama announced on Friday that a 22-year-old ban on allowing people infected with the AIDS virus into the United States will be lifted on Monday.

Obama made the announcement in signing an extension of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Act, which provides for education, prevention and treatment programs for U.S. HIV patients.

Obama said the ban was imposed 22 years ago when visitors to the United States were treated 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,” he said.

“If we want to be the global leader in combating HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it,” he said.

He said on Monday his administration will publish a final rule that eliminates the travel ban effective just after the first of 2010.

The AIDS virus infects 33 million people globally and around a million in the United States.

Reporting by Steve Holland, editing by Jackie Frank

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