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Teaching english in Asia: entry, insurance and contacts
Jul 24, 2004

Hi, Firstly, thank you so much for providing this resource. This is my first question, but I have been reading avidly for a long time.

I'm Amy, a Positive gal from Australia, diagnosed at 16, now 22. I'm on meds but haven't been sick and *fingers crossed* hopefully I'll be well for a long time to come.

My question is relating to travel. I've just completed a Bachelor's Degree majoring in English at a sought-after university and have been offered a few jobs teaching English as a second language in Japan, Korea, and China. They all offer health insurance. I'm just wondering if my status as a Positive person ( i like that terminology, it sounds like an ability, not a disability) will cause difficulties.

After looking at the US government website concerning entry into foreign countries, China and Japan seemed to not require HIV tests, while it looks like South Korea might. I just don't want to arrive and then be sent home with my tail between my legs because I am Pos.

I read the article on Thailand's relaxing of HIV regulations for foreigners entering the country and am considering applying for positions there. Can anyone shed any light on regulations of various countries or point me in the right direction? I don't want to ask the agencies that are finding me these jobs because I don't intend to disclose to them.

Also, what are my rights concerning health insurance for travel, and are there any international providers that may insure me? Just one last question, while I'm away, I would like to get in touch with HIV communities, with the intention of volunteering to give conversational english lessons to other Pos people. Do you know of any organisations in the countries I mentioned?

Thanks so much,


Response from Ms. Breuer

Dear Amy, Contratulations! on your degree, your job offers and your great attitude. I, too, hope you'll be well for a long, long time.

My colleague on this site, Lynn Franzoi, has done some insurance research and passed along her findings to me so that we could give you one answer. Lynn found that Medex Company offers travelers' insurance with no pre-existing condition clause. They do not provide blanket coverage, but they do provide coverage for incidents on a case by case basis. They're worth a try. These are the folks whose coverage sometimes provides airlifting a seriously ill or injured insured person out of a situation for medical care, so you may have read about them. I'd Google them and read about what they have to offer.

As to restrictions on HIV+ travelers, I'd contact the embassy for each country by telephone and ask directly, without giving your name or calling from a phone that would reveal your identity. The US Department of State keeps a listing of HIV restrictions by country, but I don't know how often they update the site. If you're about to take a job, I wouldn't rely on a Website for data.

What a cool set of opportunities! Of the countries you mentioned, from what I know, Thailand would be the most receptive, with Japan a close second. I'd be very careful about the restrictions on length of stay for Poz people in China or Korea.

I don't know of any HIV communities in those countries; my contacts are business coalitions who deal with HIV as a workplace issue. I'd suggest contacting the National Association of People with AIDS here in the U.S. and ask them for ideas or names of sister organizations.

Volunteering to give conversational English lessons to Poz people--what a great idea. A physician friend who has an HIV practice kicks up a lot of dust when he says it, but insists that volunteering somehow among other Poz people is one of the most therapeutic steps his patients can take.

Safe and rich journeys to you!


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