Gerson On PEPFAR

It's a very encouraging column, and it will always be on the good side of the ledger of the Bush administration: that they gave a damn about people with HIV when they didn't have to. PEPFAR is still up for renewal, and the repeal of the ban on all travel and immigration into the US for people with HIV is finally in the Senate version. No other civilized country still has this ban, enacted by Jesse Helms decades ago. And yet there is still some Republican resistance to lifting it. The president and his friends who have done so much to alleviate the stigma of HIV in America and the world need to tell their GOP allies that there is nothing to fear in removing this anachronism. It will simply treat HIV as it does every other similar disease and require all immigrants to prove that their illness will not become a public charge on government services or expenditure. And it will end an unwarranted stigma and allow the US to be treated once again as a leader - rather than an immigration outlier like Sudan and Saudi Arabia - in the way it treats all non-citizens with HIV.