The top Chinese health official at the XVII International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Mexico City says that China will likely lift its decades-old policy banning visitors with HIV/AIDS some time next year, the China Daily reports.

Positive people have long been discriminated against in foreign travel. Since the 1990s, delegates to the IAC have been calling for travel restrictions to be overturned.

“Government agencies, including the Ministry of Health and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, have reached consensus on the issue,” says Hao Yang, deputy director of the ministry's disease control and prevention bureau. “The HIV/AIDS restrictions will be lifted in 2009.”