Information for transit passengers going through Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Singapore
Airline passengers going through transit (i. e. changing planes) in these cities don’t need to worry. Transit passengers don’t go through immigration or customs. People staying overnight in a hotel should take precautions as listed below.
The following are some tips to consider when travelling as a tourist or on business trips with antiretroviral medication.
- Always carry your medication in your hand luggage. Checked luggage might get lost or delayed. • Always take some days of extra medication with you. You might not return as planned, for unforeseeable reasons. It is cumbersome to run after expensive prescription medication in a different country, and you might not even receive the drugs you are taking if in need.
- You may have to check specific customs regulation for importing your medication. In almost all cases, importing medicines for personal use would not pose a problem. To be on the safe side, carry a doctor’s prescription in English with you. The prescription should make no mention of HIV.
- Carry your medication in original packaging, labelled with your name.
- Do not disclose your HIV status unnecessarily. Not to other travellers, not to customs or immigration officials – it is not their business. Be aware that people with HIV are stigmatised in many countries.
- If you stay in a country for a longer period, or if your health is frail, make sure you know where the next HIV clinic is, or get the address of a clinician specialised in HIV. It might be a good idea to get in touch with a local HIV organisation.
- People taking substitution treatment: check about specific regulations in this respect before travelling. Some countries consider substitution treatment as illicit drug use.
Most important: be aware that perceptions around HIV infection change from country to country. So if disclosure is safe in the country and community you normally live in, this might not be the case in the country you are visiting.