While Obama lifting the HIV travel ban was in the Top 10 LGBT Stories of 2009 Bil and I wrote up, it wasn't put into effect until yesterday. A two decades old policy that was based on nothing more than hysteria has been ended and PLWHA can enter the US as freely as anyone else.
It gets me to thinking about the many other ways we don't know how to deal with crises that result in death in the US, how we often just expect politicians to "do something," and then when they do, we blindly stand behind the theater as if it's what's keeping us safe at night. Considering how HIV is not a plague transmitted via an airborne virus, and how it's already been in the US for a long time, just keeping people with HIV out of the country isn't going to do anything to reduce infections. The fact that it's become a condition many people live with makes restricting that population's freedoms even more toxic.
But politicians had to do something so that the rest of us could feel safe.
Banning abstinence-only education; funding and developing a science-based, comprehensive sex ed curriculum for all public high schools; increasing needle exchange programs; making condoms available in prison; reducing poverty, homophobia, transphobia, HIV/AIDS stigma, and drug use; and funding anti-virals for everyone in the US don't, for some odd reason, fall into the "do something" category. Banning poz people from entering the US, criminalizing HIV positive people who have sex with HIV negative people without disclosing, and telling kids "Just say no to sex" do. Funny how that works.
Here's the story of one of the first poz Canadians to enter the US: