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Visiting USA with HIV Meds. Any problem?

Jun 29, 2013

I will have a 10-days business trip to USA. I won't be alone and I am too scared of facing some difficulties entering with my meds. No one knows my HIV status and I will be traveling with a very important client. What would happen at customs? Do they take my meds from me? What is my rights? Should I try to hide my medication in my bags? I usually keep them in a plastic GNC case. Should I tell them they're just vitamins? I don't want my treatment fail and even one single day is very important. What am I supposed to do? I can't accept that my client learns this fact about me. Please help. Thanks in Advance.

Response from Ms. Douaihy

Dear Writer,

Thank you for writing in.

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 status, medications or HIV test results when making a determination of admissibility on an arriving visitors, immigrants or refugees.

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 hide your meds or 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. Enjoy your visit!

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