The effect of that absurd ban was that people with HIV/AIDS who still wanted to conduct business in the US or just enjoy a holiday had to either travel without their medication or smuggle them into their luggage at the risk of being found out and banned for life.
The latter was my experience. When in 2003 my boss offered me to visit the mothership in the state of Washington I did not want to turn down the opportunity. At the same time, I did not want to tell my boss about my hiv status. Taking with me enough to take me through the long flight, I stuffed the rest of my medication into the bottom of my bag hoping that I would not be searched.
Thank God, I went through border control without any hassle from the rather intimidating security staff!
Visiting the US was a great experience. The US seem so familiar because we see so much of it through films and TV series, finding myself walking in downtown Seattle was like being on a movie set. Walk. Don't Walk. Extreme service in shops. ID required to drink in bars. And handsome Americans to boot.
In those past 12 and a bit years since I was diagnosed and put on medication I swore I would never go there. I even rationalised that I was never into American culture to begin with. Now that the borders seem to open themselves to people with HIV who take their medication with them, I have to admit that I am curious about it. That I wish I could have visited even more of the things I heard about in movies and on TV... I can even make plans now to attend conferences and meet some of the brightest brains on earth. How cool is that?
Fingers crossed that this will happen, finally.