Travel guide for people with HIV

For World AIDS Day, the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) and its charitable IGLTA Foundation created a travel guide for people living with HIV, the ‘LGBTQ+ Travel and HIV: Navigating the World Safely. Travelling as an out LGBTQI+ person can be challenging, travelling as person with HIV as well.

Red ribbons

The guide contains tips for pre-trip planning as well as practical advice to use upon arrival. Just as many countries present added considerations for LGBTQ+ travelers, many also require unique precautions for travelers with HIV.

“We wanted to provide a resource that was easy to follow and addressed the travel process from start to finish”, said IGLTA president and CEO John Tanzella in a press release. “The guide takes HIV-positive travelers through entry requirements, safety, packing medications, and staying healthy while on the road, complete with a quick checklist to keep you on track for each trip.”

Good practices

The guide also illustrates the crossover between countries that partially restrict entry for short-term travelers with HIV or deport foreigners with HIV with those that have challenging laws for LGBTQ+ travelers. Longtime IGLTA member Dan Allen authored the guide, drawing from a variety of global resources and interviews with medical professionals.

“Much of the work the IGLTA Foundation does takes place behind the scenes, such as providing education to the tourism industry or assisting LGBTQ+ businesses”, says IGLTAF Board Co-Secretary Scott Seed, who led the Research Committee for this project. 

“We really appreciate partnerships like this one with Gilead that allow us to put valuable resources directly into the hands of our community of travelers.”

The HIV Travel Guide, along with more than 30 LGBTQ+ country and travel safety guides, can be found at iglta.org/lgbtq-travel-guides.

Travel restrictions

Some countries formally exclude people with HIV, including Jordan, which expressly denies entry to any foreigner with HIV. Others like Bhutan, Iraq and the Solomon Islands permit entry for most short stays, but require an HIV test for slightly extended stays (more than 10 days in Iraq and the Solomon Islands, or more than 14 days in Bhutan). 

In a couple of countries, namely Equatorial Guinea and Papua New Guinea, the rules governing HIV testing for short-term travelers are not entirely clear, and may differ depending on age, nation of origin, and place of visa procurement. 

Russia does not require HIV tests for single-entry short-term visas, but it does for multi-entry visas.

Can I stay for longer?

Many additional countries do require applicants for longer-stay visas—including most student, work and residence visas, to take an HIV test. These nations include Israel, Egypt, Russia, and all countries on the Arabian Peninsula

In Australia, visa applications to work or study in the medical field require HIV testing, as do permanent residence visa applications. A positive HIV status will not necessarily disqualify such applicants, but will be factored into consideration as a chronic health condition.

Safety

Just because you’re allowed into a country doesn’t necessarily mean that your HIV status won’t become an issue while you’re there, and of course, just being openly LGBTQ+ can still put you at great risk in many places. 

Nearly 20 countries are known to deport travelers if officials become aware of their positive HIV status. And while deportation rules in some of these nations are only sporadically enforced, you should be aware of, and prepared for, the risk involved should you choose to visit one of those countries. 

These countries are: Bahrain, Brunei, China, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iraq, Jordan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) or North Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Yemen.

Rainbow flag.

Furthermore, and crucially, travelers should always remember that gay and trans conduct is still criminalized in more than 70 countries around the world, and in more than a dozen, it’s even punishable by death. 

Those are Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Mauritania, parts of Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Jubaland in Somalia, the UAE and Yemen. 

The complete guide here. Also check out HIVtravel.org.  

About IGLTA & the IGLTA Foundation

The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association is the global leader in advancing LGBTQ+ travel and a proud Affiliate Member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. IGLTA’s mission is to provide information and resources for LGBTQ+ travelers and expand LGBTQ+ tourism globally by demonstrating its significant social and economic impact. The association’s professional network includes 10,000+ LGBTQ+ welcoming accommodations, destinations, service providers, travel agents, tour operators, events and travel media, and its members can be found in 80 countries. The philanthropic IGLTA Foundation empowers LGBTQ+ welcoming travel businesses globally through leadership, research and education.

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