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GAA Congratulates President Obama on New U.S. World Leadership in Lifting the HIV Travel Ban

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Global AIDS Alliance welcomes President Obama's announcement today to lift the 22 year-old U.S. travel and immigration ban on those living with HIV/AIDS. GAA Executive Director Paul Zeitz said "We congratulate President Obama on his decision to end this unfounded and discriminatory policy. This is an important sign of U.S. leadership and commitment."

The end to the travel ban is a critical step in removing the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. As a global leader, the U.S. policy gave credence to other countries' similar policies on restricting travel for those with HIV. This travel poses no public health concern, yet as of today, 67 countries have travel restrictions on people with HIV/AIDS. GAA opposes all restrictions on travel due to HIV status and hopes that this decision by the U.S. will lead to other countries ending such stigmatizing restrictions.

Lifting the ban signals an end to institutionalized spreading of misinformation that leads to discrimination. At a signing ceremony for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009, President Obama recognized the flawed policy as being "rooted in fear rather than fact." The new regulations will be published in the Federal Register Monday and take effect following a 60-day waiting period.

Lifting this ban frees from restriction the approximately 33 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS. A diagnosis does not equal a death sentence, and with access to antiretroviral medications, people living with AIDS are able to live full and productive lives that should include the freedoms of traveling internationally. U.S. commitment to fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic requires universal access to treatment. Zeitz said, "GAA looks forward to the President's continued leadership on full funding for PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis with the launch of round 10 in early 2010."

SOURCE Global AIDS Alliance

SOURCE Global AIDS Alliance
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