China lifts 20-year-old entry ban on HIV/AIDS infected foreigners

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Beijing, Apr 28 (ANI): The Chinese Government has lifted a 20-year-old rule that banned foreigners with HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and leprosy from entering the country.

According to a statement released by China's State Council, the decision was taken after realizing that it did little to prevent the spread of disease and caused problems when the country was hosting international events.

The statement further said the lifting of the ban would not bring an outbreak of disease in the country, as scientific research has proved daily contact does not cause infection.

Chinese Health Ministry spokesman Mao Qun'an said the groundwork for lifting the ban had began since the Beijing Olympic Games, but it took a few more years only because of the necessary procedures, the Xinhua news agency reports.

The revision comes days ahead of the opening of the Shanghai World Expo.

Earlier, the government had temporarily lifted the ban for various large-scale events, including the 1990 Beijing Asian Games, the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

According to Chinese Health Ministry, the estimated number of people living with HIV in China had reached 740,000 by October 2009, with deaths caused by AIDS totalling 49,845 since the first case was reported in 1985.

The decision comes several months after the U.S. removed HIV infection from the list of diseases that prevent non-U.S. citizens from entering the country.

Until January, the U.S. was one of seven countries with laws barring entry of people with HIV. (ANI)

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