Obama signs Ryan White Act and orders a lift of the HIV travel ban

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Obama signs Ryan White ActOnly two days after signing the Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill into law, President Obama today signed an extension to the Ryan White Act which provides assistance and support to nearly half a million people suffering from HIV/AIDS.

“If we want to be a global leader in combatting HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it,” Obama said at the White House before signing a bill to extend the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program. Begun in 1990, the program provides medical care, medication and support services to about half a million people, most of them low-income.

The bill is named for an Indiana teenager who contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion at age 13. White went on to fight AIDS-related discrimination against him and others like him and help educate the country about the disease. He died in April 1990 at the age of 18.

His mother, Jeanne White-Ginder, attended the signing ceremony, as did several members of Congress and HIV/AIDS activists.

Obama also said he will be finalizing an order on Monday that will lift the HIV immigration and travel ban that has been in place for 20 years.

Video of the ceremony below…

My friends… it was a very good week. First hate crimes and now this. It gives one hope for the future. Let’s hope the vote in Maine doesn’t erase all that.

Post by ILO on 10/30/09 at 11:46 am