HIV and travel

Being HIV-positive may make it necessary to plan any trips you are planning to take in detail. Also, if you are HIV-positive, you will have to check the rules for entering your destination country and think about different vaccinations. You should also think about your supply of medications when you are away from home.


First of all, before undertaking the journey, it is important to make sure that your state of health will allow you to travel. After all, being ill while you are away from home can be problematic, because it is often difficult to find specialized treatments or even to be repatriated to your home country at short notice. In addition, in the event of a person being seriously ill, certain airlines may refuse to let them fly.
It is also necessary to find out about any vaccinations that are required to travel to certain countries and if they can be administered. Generally, live attenuated vaccines cannot be administered to people afflicted with HIV. It is advisable to seek your doctor’s advice.
Following treatment for HIV involves taking your medication with you during your trip. However, customs often scrutinize the anti-HIV medications they find in the luggage of HIV-positive passengers, and this is one of the reasons why HIV-positive people are often refused access to countries with restrictions.
Certain people solve the problem of the risk of traveling with their medications by taking preventive action. For example, there are HIV-positive people who send their medications via post before taking their journey, but it is still necessary to make sure that they have arrived.

Travel and restricted access for HIV-positive individuals

It is important to find out if a country you want to visit has restrictions in place for access to HIV-positive people. Many countries have limits for short-term or long-term stays for HIV-positive people.
The most effective way to find out if a country has this type of restrictions is to contact its embassy or consulate directly. You can also contact a service organization for HIV-positive people in the country you want to travel to and find out about access restrictions from them. The Worldwide and European AIDS Directory organizations in particular provide lists of key organizations with details of the associations to contact.
If the country you want to visit has restricted access, it is still advised to think about whether the journey is really necessary. In the majority of cases, the risk of being stopped at customs and being turned back at the border is high.
For people living in a country in the European Union, there are no problems traveling to other countries in Europe.

Last updated: 6/2/18

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