Tuesday, November 3, 2009

White House Ends HIV Travel Ban

Great news! On Friday, President Obama signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009. This legislation effectively ends the travel ban that, until now, had prevented HIV-positive individuals from traveling or immigrating to the United States.

The HIV travel ban originated in the Reagan administration and was strengthened with legislation in 1987. Friday's historic legislation overturns the ban and takes a bold step in reducing discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.

Restricting travel for people living with HIV/AIDS not only violates international laws on the freedom of movement, but also approaches the question of how to deal with the HIV pandemic from the wrong angle. Preventing HIV-positive individuals from immigrating to the United States is a short-sighted measure. In order to effectively curtail the HIV pandemic, it is necessary to both pursue preventative measures and make treatment widely available.

People living with HIV/AIDS desperately need regular access to antiretroviral medications as well as adequate treatment for any opportunistic infections that they may develop due to their compromised immune systems. HIV-positive women need access to medications preventing mother-to-child transmission. The pharmaceutical industry should not profit excessively off of the production of medications that treat HIV/AIDS -- instead, these medications should be made widely available to HIV-positive populations in resource-poor countries.

In addition, health education programs, women's empowerment programs, and access to contraceptives are three essential components of an effective prevention strategy for the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Until Congress and the Obama adminstration tackle these components - including directly addressing global gender inequality issues - then the global pandemic will likely continue to spread.

I applaud President Obama for enacting this legislation that ends the HIV travel ban. I hope that this is indicative of a larger strategy to effectively address the HIV pandemic directly.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    1 in 4 sexually active teenagers become infected with an STD every year, in the United States alone. Now, more than ever, we need to join together to fight this growing issue. As I read through your website, it is clear that you share the same passion for STD/STI awareness. We here, at Disease.com, understand the importance of STD/STI prevention and treatments. If you could, please list us as a resource or host our social book mark button, it would be much appreciated. We can not reach every teenager, but together we can try.
    If you need more information please mail me with the subject line as your URL.

    Thnak You,
    Sharon Vegoe