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HIV US/Canada Border Crossing/Testing
Jul 28, 2003

I'm not sure what the appropriate forum is for this, but I guess its a practical/legal issue, so I thought the workplace forum experts might have the best insight on this.

I live in Canada, about 1.5 hours from New York State, where there is a testing centre that has the 20-minute FDA approved rapid screening test.

Here in Canada, I have to wait two weeks.

I am just wondering if anyone can shed any light on what I should do, if I want to take the NYSPH test, and cross the border.

I am a caucasian, Canadian citizen. But I can't lie at the border crossing and say I am going shopping or something, because it could be risky. Especially, since I'd be crossing early in the morning before shops are open, it would be too suspicious.

If I tell customs that I am going for a medical test/procedure, will they ask to see documentation? If they ask, I will have none, because it is anonymous test.

And then if I tell them I am anonymously testing for HIV, I may be asked to report the disease if I am positive, since it is reportable.

So I don't know what my rights are when crossing into the US. I'm not worried about coming back to Canada.

I really want to get the test done, I can't wait the two weeks here in Canada. I want to do it through New York State Public Health... any ideas on what the best way to cross into New York to do this is?

(PS, FYI for those who have concerns over me using 'their system', I will make a monetary donation to NYSPH when I get there).


Response from Ms. Breuer

As I understand it (and I don't understand everything about our lunatic immigration rules concerning HIV!), you would be likely to be detained at the border only if you were carrying antiretroviral meds, or stated that you were attending an AIDS conference. (I was once detained at the border for an hour because I was attending an AIDS conference in Montreal. Car searched, interview...) You are free to state that you're crossing the border for a medical procedure not available to you in Canada--period. There is no reason to mention HIV. I don't believe they would ask for documentation, but if they do, smile shyly and explain that for this procedure, no appointment is required. I don't blame you for wanting the results in 20 minutes rather than two weeks.

chances of infection
hiv meds and hiv disclosure

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