President Obama overturned a decades-old policy Friday that he said was "rooted in fear rather than fact," when he announced the lifting of a rule barring HIV-positive people from entering the US.
"Now, we talk about reducing the stigma of this disease -- yet we've treated a visitor living with it as a threat," the President said.
"[W]e are one of only a dozen countries that still bar people [with] HIV from entering our own country. If we want to be the global leader in combating HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it."
Mr. Obama touted the move just before signing the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act Of 2009, a bill that provides treatment and support to low-income people affected by the disease.
It was named after 13-year-old Ryan White, who was stigmatized by his Indiana community after he contracted the disease in 1984 from a blood transfusion. He died in 1990. Ryan's mother, Jeanne White-Ginder, attended the bill signing.
In 1987, the Senate unanimously passed a ban on visitors or immigrants who have HIV or AIDS from entering the US.
But just last year, the Senate voted to overturn that ban and President George W. Bush signed it into law.
The publication of the rule Monday is the final step in the process. There will then be a 60-day waiting period before the ban is implemented.