This week, I'm in Geneva representing the United States at a meeting of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. But I'd like to take a moment to call attention to this statement by Secretary Clinton on China's recent action to remove HIV-related entry barriers. Here in the United States, it was a long struggle to get these barriers removed -- a struggle that finally came to fruition earlier this year. Around the globe, there is a growing understanding that these entry barriers are not science-based and do not serve a public health purpose -- in fact, they promote stigma and discrimination in ways that are actually counterproductive to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
As a physician who has worked with people living with HIV for over 25 years, it was gratifying for me to see the United States move from the list of countries with such barriers to the list of countries without them. Now it is good to see the world's most populous country take that same step, and I hope many more will soon follow. Here's what the Secretary had to say:
"I commend China's decision to lift its ban on HIV-positive individuals entering the country. The Obama Administration has taken similar action here at home, repealing the long-standing policy that prevented people living with HIV from entering the United States. China's step, like our earlier action, is supported by current medical knowledge of HIV transmission and risk. And it will help reduce the stigma and discrimination around HIV/AIDS that fuel the global pandemic and too often prevent people from accessing much-needed services.
"I am encouraged by the growing international consensus against discriminatory HIV-based travel restrictions, and I congratulate China on being a part of this progress."Click here for the Secretary's statement.