China Ends Travel Ban on Persons with AIDS

China is ready to embrace foreigners with HIV/AIDS. The country’s State Council, the government Cabinet, has scrapped a policy that prohibits people with HIV/AIDS from entering the country.

The lifting of the travel ban comes days ahead of the opening of the Shanghai World Expo, which the government hopes would attract many tourists. China is the third country this year to lift such a ban after South Korea and the United States did so on January 1. The United Nations welcomed China’s move, with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon saying the East Asian country’s move should serve as an example to other nations that still implement travel restrictions to people living with AIDS. “Punitive policies and practices only hamper the global AIDS response,” Ban said.

China said the ban, which was imposed 20 years ago, was caused by a limited knowledge of the disease at the time of the restriction’s implementation. The amendment also lifts a similar ban on people with leprosy and sexually transmitted diseases.