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Travelling to US
May 30, 2006

Dear Doc,

I am an IT professional from India who may soon be travelling to US on an official assignment and would be there for 2 years. I am HIV +ve (my firm does not know about my status) and am on HAART for the past 3 months. I spoke to my indian doc and he says that I can take my indian antiretroviral drugs with me for 2 years. I would be covered under medical insurance by my firm, but I dont want to claim for it for the fear of my employer knowing about my status. Assuming that I do my CD4 counts and viral load tests frequently in US, Is it safe to travel to US and continue on the indian drugs? Will I be allowed to take indian antiretroviral drugs (Duovir-e from an Indian company called Cipla) to US? Will the cd4 tests / doc visits cost me a fortune if I dont claim for insurance? I am very keen to travel to US, and have been in US before for 2 years when I was not knowing about my HIV status and was not on HAART. I dont want to miss this opportunity. Pls advise.

Many Thanks,

Response from Dr. Wohl

There should be no problem taking your own medicines with you into the US. I would ask your doctor to write a note on his/her stationary attesting to the fact that these are your medications for your use during your stay in the US.

You should be sure that the drugs will not expire during your stay in the States.

The CD4 cell count can cost about $100-$200 and the viral load test about $200-$300 but this can vary from place to place. Once you arrive, try and locate an AIDS Service Organization where you will be located and see if they can advise you about where to receive affordable care.

DW



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