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Reged: 07/18/07
Posts: 1
Loc: traveling through Latin America
Traveling through Latin America
      #228769 - 07/18/07 04:03 PM

Over the next year I will be driving from Portland, Oregon to Argentina and back. I would love to hear from any one with HIV who is on meds and has traveled extensively through Latin America, especially with a car and border crossings. Any advice/experiences would be greatly appreciated.

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Reged: 12/21/05
Posts: 1390
Re: Traveling through Latin America new
      #228772 - 07/18/07 06:38 PM

I was in the Peace Corps in South America and traveled in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. That was before I was HIV positive. I guess the only advice I can give you is: be aware of what you are eating and drinking. And be able to speak Spanish. I did get ill once from either eating or drinking something contaminated. It was a long recovery and I lost a lot of weight.
As far as the borders are concerned I was never in a car...always public transportation. I think if your papers are in order and you have the prescriptions for the drugs you should be ok but I DO NOT know.

6 ft tall poz bear in Philadelphia

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Reged: 02/19/07
Posts: 541
Re: Traveling through Latin America new
      #228775 - 07/18/07 06:52 PM

Just want to had make sure your passport is current. D

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Reged: 12/21/05
Posts: 1390
Re: Traveling through Latin America new
      #228776 - 07/18/07 07:30 PM

Right. Your passport should be current and not set to expire while you are on the journey. In some cases you may need visas to enter the country and I would discuss this with a good travel agency or organization that helps travelers. I would also make an effort to contact any HIV organizations in Argentina ( or any country that has them) before departure to let them know you are coming and perhaps they can actually help you more than we can.
As I said, I hope you speak Spanish.

6 ft tall poz bear in Philadelphia

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Reged: 03/27/06
Posts: 247
Loc: San Antonio, Texas
Re: Traveling through Latin America new
      #228800 - 07/19/07 04:02 AM

Crossing land borders from one Latin American to another is generally pretty easy (though it can be time consuming especially in Chile where everything goes through an X-ray machine to prevent foreign fruits and vegetables from entering the country). I've never driven, just used public transport but some countries (like Mexico) may require that you register your car before they allow into the interior. My advice would be:

1) Make sure you have your passport and that it's current
2) Understand that gas is more expensive in Latin American than in the U.S.
3) Have your automobile documents with you
4) Leave copies of your passport and car documents with a friend at home
5) Be prepared to pay bribes to policemen who pull you over for made up traffic violations
6) Learn lots of Spanish
7) Get your travel vaccines (typhoid fever, Hep A/B, tetanus, maybe yellow fever if you're going into the jungle)
8) Don't drink tap water anywhere, including ice!!! (except maybe in argentina, chile, and uraguay)
9) Get your doctor to give you an antibiotic before you go that you take with you that you can start taking in case you get sick. I guarantee you'll get sick at least once unless you cook all your food yourself.
10) Take a lot more pills with you than you need in case you lose some or you take longer to return home than you anticipate
11) Be prepared to stop at a lot of army/police check points
12) If they discover your pills, tell them you have a heart condition and hypertension. Don't say you have HIV.
13) You can't cross the Darien Province between Panama and Colombia (and live to tell about it). You'll have to take a ferry. People with HIV are not allowed into Colombia, so you're going to have to lie if they discover your pills. I hope you're not taking like 7 per day.
14) You'll need a visa to enter Brazil and, for the moment, Bolivia. They cost $100 each.
15) Beware of: bad driving, flooded/washed out roads, speeding, trucks, pot holes, speed bumps, road bandits, animals, bad or non-existant signage, fog (especially on windy mountainous roads), and pitch blackness
16) Make sure you know how to change a flat tire
17) Take an ATM card plus a copy and also at least $200 in cash in case of an emergency
18) Salads are off limits and so is buying food or fruit off the street that is not covered or that has not been peeled or cooked in front of you. Don't trust the person when they say they just made it.
19) Eating at dodgy looking places is fine so long as its popular with the locals (i.e. if a restaurant/food stand has a crowd then it's good)
20) Have fun!!

I know lots about Latin America (though I've never driven there thank god). If you have any questions just ask.

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