Few countries still ban tourist travel for people with HIV, but a larger number have entry restrictions for longer stays, or prevent HIV positive people from settling there.
Very few countries now ban tourist travel (usually considered to be a stay of under 30 days) for people with HIV; however, there are still a few countries where even a tourist stay can be problematic.
*Entry requirements might have changed since this list was published. Always check entry restrictions anonymously with the country’s embassy or consulate or an HIV organisation in the country you wish to travel to.
A larger number of countries do have HIV entry restrictions for people on longer stays, especially when residency and work permits are involved. If you are planning to emigrate to a country, you are strongly advised to check what policies affect people living with HIV.
These restrictions were largely introduced during the early years of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, and their effectiveness in reducing the spread of HIV internationally has been challenged repeatedly. The World Health Organization does not endorse these restrictions. The USA and China both dropped their HIV travel restrictions in 2010.
Countries such as Russia, Canada and Australia still have residency restrictions at least to some degree and many Middle Eastern countries have a complete ban on residency. People can be tested involuntarily in some countries, then detained in prison and deported. If you are unsure of your HIV status, it is advisable to be tested before considering moving to a country with such restrictions.
Be warned that some countries restrict the carrying of HIV medication even when they have no specific restrictions for HIV positive individuals. See Travelling with medication for further details.
You should research any destination in advance just to be sure.
You can check whether a country has entry restrictions for HIV by contacting your local embassy, consulate or High Commission. However, some countries do have conflicting information on HIV restrictions, such as the Republic of Korea, and you may have to wait for a response on an individual basis.
You may have reservations about revealing your HIV status to a foreign embassy or consulate and you may want to consider whether to give your name and other details when making the enquiry. THT Direct can help.
The Global Database on HIV Travel website is considered a reliable and frequently updated resource listing entry restrictions for people with HIV, published in several European languages.
If you do decide to visit a country with entry restrictions, think through the consequences of your HIV status possibly being discovered on arrival. This can happen through discovery of medication, correspondence, HIV literature or doctor’s letters that you may be carrying. Lesbian and gay publications can also arouse suspicion in certain countries, as can haemophilia. You may be refused entry and deported.
Ensuring this is all checked in advance should make for a much more relaxed and enjoyable trip.
Next: How to prepare for travel if you have HIV ››
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This article was last reviewed on
by Anna Peters
Date due for the next review: 11/1/2019
Content Author: B. Smith
Current Owner: Clive Blowes
Entry restrictions, NAMLIFE
The impact of HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence, World Health Organisation (2009)
Various people talk about their experiences of living with HIV.
CAB - Citizens Advice Bureau
HIV Drug Interactions
George House Trust
Equality and Human Rights Commission
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