Monday, July 28, 2008

Bush Will Sign AIDS Relief Bill, Lift HIV Travel Ban

President Bush said over the weekend that he is "eager" to sign legislation, passed by Congress, which triples the United States' investment in combating AIDS. The bill, known as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, also includes legislation - endorsed by PFLAG and other organizations - to repeal the HIV travel ban.

“I thank members of Congress from both sides of the aisle for working with my administration to pass this important bill, and I will be honored to sign it into law next week,” Bush said in his weekly radio address.

Repeal of the travel ban will end "a two-decade-old U.S. policy that has made it nearly impossible for HIV-positive people to get visas to this country as immigrants, students or tourists," the Associated Press reported this morning.

Earlier this month, PFLAG joined Immigration Equality and other groups in calling for a repeal of the ban. "This draconian policy has negative consequences for our nation," a joint letter to Congress said. "Medical professionals, researchers, and other exceptionally talented people have been blocked from the United States. Since 1993, the International Conference on AIDS has not been held on U.S. soil due to this policy."

For more information on how repeal of the ban will effect travelers to the United States, click here.

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