31 Oct 2009

Obama to lift ban on tourists with HIV

8:59 pm on 31 October 2009

The United States President Barack Obama says he will overturn a 22-year-old law barring foreigners infected with HIV or AIDS from entering the US.

Mr Obama made the announcement as he extended funding for legislation that provides HIV/Aids-related health care, the BBC reports.

"If we want to be the global leader in combating HIV/Aids, we need to act like it," Mr Obama said.

He says the entry ban on travellers was "rooted in fear rather than fact".

Mr Obama added: "It will also take an effort to end the stigma that has stopped people from getting tested, that has stopped people from facing their own illness and that has sped the spread of this disease for far too long."

The US is one of only about a dozen countries barring entry on HIV status. The ban is expected to be lifted at the beginning of 2010.