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short travel to us: should i avoid to take my meds to avoid detention?

Jun 2, 2012

Hi, i've read and heard horrible stories of detention and deportation if a HIV pos. person takes hiv meds into US. Because of work, i have to attend for 10 days to USA, but i dont want to (and dont need to in my country) disclose my status. Im very afraid of getting in huge problems for this. Would you recommend a 10-day pause on taking meds to avoid jail and deportation in US? I know that Obama already remove the legal restriction for HIV pos people, but you never know what kind of customs agent you have to deal with.

Response from Ms. Douaihy

Dear Writer,

Thank you for the question.

You correctly state that in 2010 the US government lifted the "ban" on HIV positive persons visiting the United States. Effective January 2010, The Department of Homeland Security ruled that a diagnosis of HIV infection will not render a person traveling into the United States as inadmissible under Section 212(a)(1)(A)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Thus, HIV-positive travelers seeking entry to the United States no longer need a waiver of inadmissibility to travel to the United States. Customs officials cannot consider HIV test results when making a determination of admissibility on an arriving immigrant or refugee.

You do not say in your question what country you are traveling from, so be sure to meet all the legal requirements for your short-term visit to the US. Some countries require a Visa. So in your case, as long as you satisfy applicable visitor requirements (if any), I see no reason to suspend your medication regimen. HIV status is no longer a barrier to entry and HIV medication is not prohibited or otherwise barred by Customs and Border Patrol.

You should know that Immigration and Customs regulations actually ask visitors with ANY kind of prescription medication to bring an official doctor's note certifying that the meds are prescribed for treatment of your medical condition. You may not be asked for it, but you should carry it just in case.

According to the Transportation Security Administration, prescription and over-the-counter medication should be properly labeled and where medically necessary items exceed 3 ounces or are not contained in a one-quart, zip-top plastic bag, you must declare such to a Security Officers at an official checkpoint for further inspection. If you feel you are mistreated because of your HIV status you have every right to make a complaint of discriminatory treatment to the Customs and Border Patrol.

Good luck and safe travels!

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