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Traveling outside of the US?
Mar 26, 2010

I was diagnosed HIV+ back on June 2009. I am on Atripla now and last time I went to the Dr I was undetectable. I been thinking planning to travel to Mexico (my place of birth) and Cuba. Is there any specific precautions I should take when I go to the above countries, any vacciness I should have before I live the US or any recommendation to follow before leaving the US for vacations? I am planning to travel to other countries eventually like Panama, Costa Rica, etc so any advice regarding traveling outside the US being HIV+ yet undetectable will be appreciate it.Just for the records, no, I am not planning to have sex with anybody in those countries... :-)

Response from Dr. Young

This answer was kindly provided by our friend Dr. John Hammer, from Global Travel Health and Rocky Mountain CARES in Denver.

irst of all, congratulations for getting tested and getting/staying on effective therapy! As for vaccinations it is very important to discuss options with your HIV provider. A general vaccination list for any HIV-infected individual in the US (or elsewhere) should in include shots for pneumococcal pneumonia, hepatitis A and B as well as diphtheria/tetanus with pertussis. Your specific vaccine needs should be discussed with your provider. As you grew up in Mexico, for instance, you may have been exposed/infected with hepatitis A as a child and this vaccine may not be needed.

As for travel to central America and Cuba, if you're up to date with vaccines as per above there is little need for additional shots. The adventurous traveler/eater might consider the injectable vaccine for typhoid fever (the pill form is a live virus and may not be indicated in light of you HIV infection). Typhoid fever has declined in Mexico over the past decade but still might present a risk there and in many parts of Central America. Apart from vaccines, you will want to consider carrying an antibiotic to use in the case of travelers' diarrhea. A medication to prevent malaria may also be considered depending on your itinerary. Malaria is a real risk only in certain parts of Mexico (Chiapas) but is common in parts of every country in Central America (but not in Cuba). I would encourage discussion of specific risks prior to each trip with your provider or a travel medicine professional (anyone with access to detailed maps and information that can be tailored to your planned itinerary). Kudos on the abstinence with locals as well and I hope your travels are both fun and safe!



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