The US has lifted its 22-year-old ban on the entry of HIV-positive people in the country. This was arguably one of the most restrictive immigration policies in the world for people with HIV.
This follows sharp criticism from HIV experts and People Living with HIV/Aids, who have always termed the ban as restrictive and which increases the stigma associated with the disease.
While signing the Bill, US President Barack Obama also announced the repeal of the travel ban, describing it as a "decision rooted in fear rather than fact." "If we want to be the global leader in combating HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it," he said in a statement.
Obama said his administration will publish a final rule that eliminates the travel ban effective just after the New Year.
The ban, which experts termed discriminative, had also barred long-term foreign residents from obtaining resident status, if they tested positive. HIV experts have in the past criticized it for encouraging people not to get tested out of fear.
Only a handful of other countries, such as Yemen and Qatar, have similar policies on barring entry to HIV-positive individuals.
The world marked the AIDS day with the theme, 'human rights and access to treatment'. The UN chose the theme to act as a wake up call to those countries with restrictive rules on immigration policies on the basis of HIV status. Echoing the theme, UN Secretary General Ban Kid-Moon noted the theme was chosen to address the critical need to protect human rights and make HIV prevention, treatment, care and support accessible to all.