It is estimated that more than 37 million people were HIV+ from around the world. This makes it a major public issue that is growing over time. However, with increasing access to preventing methods, cure and treatments people are able to live a healthy life. Even so, people who suffer from HIV face certain restrictions. One of which is the ban on travel. Certain countries around the world do not permit HIV+ individuals to enter the country.
But that still indicates that there are certain countries that are friendlier to HIV+ patients. Traveling is an experience that many prefer not to miss out on. And everyone should be able to travel. Whether it is to travel for leisure, study, work or even to access certain medical benefits that many home countries would not have.
Different countries have different laws
According to a survey by UNAID, 203 countries do not have any kind of HIV related restrictions or ban for entry or stay. Countries like Australia, New Zealand, Lebanon, and a few others offer HIV testing. This is to allow individuals to travel for work, study and even provide them with residential permits. Whereas other countries like Mauritius, Indonesia, and the Maldives, allow entry into borders for a short period of time. This is based on HIV testing and the resultant status. The rest of the countries strictly deport non-nationals on the basis of HIV status.
Discrimination against HIV+ or caution?
These HIV travel restrictions involve a mandatory HIV test. The tests are conducted without any counseling or other support services. And any entry that is denied or waivered is reported in the visa or immigration records. When non-nationals are found positive for HIV, they are made to stay in detention centers. They are then given HIV related care and treatment before being deported.
Some people might find these laws to be discriminating and unnecessary. But health regulations require to use preventive measures so as to not spread the disease. Even though HIV is not something that can spread by touch or being in the presence of the person, it is important for the countries to take precautionary steps.
General travelers already feel vulnerable when they enter a new country. It is inevitable that traveling with HIV is more taxing and stressful. And with the restrictions imposed on the same. But there are a few websites that educate you on the laws in some countries that support or hinder your travel. And learning those will keep you informed of the risks and barriers that you might have to deal with if you choose to travel there.
Keep certain things in mind, and we’re good to go.
There are other essentials to keep in mind to travel internationally as an HIV positive person or with someone who is positive for the virus. For starters, it is always safer and wiser to carry medication for the days of travel. You could even carry extra in case of a delay or a stick-up. To stay on top of things, you can figure out where or how you can find any assistance related to it. This includes doctors, organization groups, gay advocacy groups and such.
The taboo around HIV makes it difficult to interact with people around, especially in places you have never traveled before. But HIV is nothing to be ashamed of. But remember to be aware of the laws imposed by some countries and if they are hyper-vigilant about HIV. You could keep your medication hidden when traveling to such countries.
How can we make a change?
We can try to reduce these restrictions by taking a step towards making a change. We could start a campaign to highlight these laws, policies, and practices. Those who are shy of making a move because of their diagnosis can be provided with support and information.
Also, creating awareness and conducting sessions on HIV and human rights with authorities can help support the cause. All this could make a change in the way laws are implemented. A more strict approach would be to request removal of these discriminatory laws. This can be passed with the concerned parliament or local government. But it is all a group effort that demands not only the LGBT+ community but also allies and others to join hands.
Legal methods are also actively being implemented to help spread awareness about the issue.
United Nations also take steps to contravene international, regional or national discriminations. Universal declaration of human rights guarantees these human rights to individuals along with other treaties and instruments.
The Siracusa Principles on the Limitation and Derogation of Provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights allow restrictions based on certain conditions that are not discriminating.
Safety is key, but discrimination is unnecessary. Wouldn’t you say so?
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