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Author Topic: Traveling to China -- advice?  (Read 3604 times)

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Offline leximancer

  • Member
  • Posts: 21
    • a thousand words
Traveling to China -- advice?
« on: March 17, 2008, 12:29:02 PM »
I may be traveling to Shanghai for some time, probably staying there between three months and a year.  Having only very rarely traveled out of the country, I have a few concerns.  Could anyone who's familiar with China in general or Shanghai specifically help me out?

  • I'm currently on Reyataz, Norvir, and Epzicom.  Will I be able to get my meds overseas?
  • How good is sanitation over there?  What can I do to protect myself from various infectious diseases?
  • How good are the medical facilities over there?  Do I need connections to get good medical care if things go wrong?
  • Is it generally considered unwise to be open about one's HIV status there?  What about being open about one's sexuality?
  • TB is supposed to be one of the biggest problems for poz folks.  Can I get immunized against this?  What other immunizations should I get?
  • Any other general advice for living in Shanghai?

I appreciate any help I could get!

Offline komnaes

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,898
Re: Traveling to China -- advice?
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2008, 01:00:03 PM »
I may be traveling to Shanghai for some time, probably staying there between three months and a year.  Having only very rarely traveled out of the country, I have a few concerns.  Could anyone who's familiar with China in general or Shanghai specifically help me out?

  • I'm currently on Reyataz, Norvir, and Epzicom.  Will I be able to get my meds overseas?
  • How good is sanitation over there?  What can I do to protect myself from various infectious diseases?
  • How good are the medical facilities over there?  Do I need connections to get good medical care if things go wrong?
  • Is it generally considered unwise to be open about one's HIV status there?  What about being open about one's sexuality?
  • TB is supposed to be one of the biggest problems for poz folks.  Can I get immunized against this?  What other immunizations should I get?
  • Any other general advice for living in Shanghai?

I appreciate any help I could get!

I was just there last week. You'd love the city. First, some advises:

1. You should bring your meds. I need to check but I am not sure if you can just get meds from a private clinic in China.
2. Drinking water is a problem, but not so much in Shanghai (it's horrible in Beijing). Stick to bottle water. No one drinks from the tap in China; and if you must boil it first.
3. The medical facilities are OK to great IF you can afford it. Are you traveling for business? If you have insurance to cover emergency medication needs that it's OK. Otherwise it's very expensive. So check your own insurance first.
4. I cannot answer you about immunization of TB. But TB is a BIG problem here, and there are some rather dangerous drug resistance strains around. You don't have to be too paranoid, but have some face masks ready when you're flying domestic, in crowded public transportations while it's a flu season (like NOW) or many people in, say, your office are sick.
5. It is VERY unwise to open about your HIV status and, though less so, of your sexuality, if you mean to the folks with you work with or just meet. Be care with causal pickups as blackmailing can still happen. Or do you mean when it comes to sex? I can't tell you what's best for you, but my strategy after my diagnosis is to just be very safe (no anal sex) but not disclose.

As for the general, I cannot recommend too much as you haven't given out much information - are you on regular business trips, staying in hotels so you don't have to find your own apartment, etc. Shanghai is a very comfortable city and many people have some English, so it's not as difficult as some might say. To make friends and start a gay life, try this bar called Shanghai Studio. Most local expats and many tourists go there. Easy to meet people and get your bearing.

Have fun! Shaun
Aug 07 Diagnosed
Oct 07 CD4=446(19%) Feb 08 CD4=421(19%)
Jun 08 CD4=325(22%) Jul 08 CD4=301(18%)
Sep 08 CD4=257/VL=75,000 Oct 08 CD4=347(16%)
Dec 08 CD4=270(16%)
Jan 09 CD4=246(13%)/VL=10,000
Feb 09 CD4=233(15%)/VL=13,000
Started meds Sustiva/Epzicom
May 09 CD4=333(24%)/VL=650
Aug 09 CD4=346(24%)/VL=UD
Nov 09 CD4=437(26%)/VL=UD
Feb 10 CD4=471(31%)/VL=UD
June 10 CD4=517 (28%)/VL=UD
Sept 10 CD4=687 (31%)/VL=UD
Jan 11 CD4=557 (30%)/VL=UD
April 11 CD4=569 (32%)/VL=UD
Switched to Epizcom, Reyataz and Norvir
(Interrupted for 2 months with only Epizcom & Reyataz)
July 11 CD=520 (28%)/VL=UD
Oct 11 CD=771 (31%)/VL=UD(<30)
April 12 CD=609 (28%)/VL=UD(<20)
Aug 12 CD=657 (29%)/VL=UD(<20)
Dec 12 CD=532 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
May 13 CD=567 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
Jan 14 CD=521 (21%)/VL=UD(<50)

Offline leximancer

  • Member
  • Posts: 21
    • a thousand words
Re: Traveling to China -- advice?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2008, 03:38:24 PM »
As for the general, I cannot recommend too much as you haven't given out much information - are you on regular business trips, staying in hotels so you don't have to find your own apartment, etc. Shanghai is a very comfortable city and many people have some English, so it's not as difficult as some might say. To make friends and start a gay life, try this bar called Shanghai Studio. Most local expats and many tourists go there. Easy to meet people and get your bearing.

Thanks for the advice!  I'm still not quite certain on the details yet, but it looks like I'll be working as an intern/apprentice to a woman who owns a design firm.  As far as I know, room and board will be provided in her residence, though I'll probably have to earn my own pocket money by teaching English or somesuch.  (Any advice on that?)

The article on clubs and bars in Shanghai looks interesting.  I'm not used to the bar and club scene, though depending on the length of my stay, I might try it out.  Like I said before, this may be anywhere between three months to a year.  If it's on the shorter end, I'll probably end up not going, just finding what friends I can elsewhere.  If it's longer, I might try it out of curiosity.

5. It is VERY unwise to open about your HIV status and, though less so, of your sexuality, if you mean to the folks with you work with or just meet. Be care with causal pickups as blackmailing can still happen. Or do you mean when it comes to sex? I can't tell you what's best for you, but my strategy after my diagnosis is to just be very safe (no anal sex) but not disclose.

This is going to take some getting used to.  My personal life never makes it past the office door, but in general, I'm pretty open about both my sexuality and my status if ever it comes up among friend outside the workplace.  As for sex, I don't anticipate any casual encounters or relationships while there.

Offline komnaes

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,898
Re: Traveling to China -- advice?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2008, 10:39:51 AM »
Have fun buddy!

Not sure how are you going to get your meds though if you stay so long. I personally don't know any ID doctors in Shanghai and as an expat you'd need to pay for your medical needs and they are expensive in China.
Aug 07 Diagnosed
Oct 07 CD4=446(19%) Feb 08 CD4=421(19%)
Jun 08 CD4=325(22%) Jul 08 CD4=301(18%)
Sep 08 CD4=257/VL=75,000 Oct 08 CD4=347(16%)
Dec 08 CD4=270(16%)
Jan 09 CD4=246(13%)/VL=10,000
Feb 09 CD4=233(15%)/VL=13,000
Started meds Sustiva/Epzicom
May 09 CD4=333(24%)/VL=650
Aug 09 CD4=346(24%)/VL=UD
Nov 09 CD4=437(26%)/VL=UD
Feb 10 CD4=471(31%)/VL=UD
June 10 CD4=517 (28%)/VL=UD
Sept 10 CD4=687 (31%)/VL=UD
Jan 11 CD4=557 (30%)/VL=UD
April 11 CD4=569 (32%)/VL=UD
Switched to Epizcom, Reyataz and Norvir
(Interrupted for 2 months with only Epizcom & Reyataz)
July 11 CD=520 (28%)/VL=UD
Oct 11 CD=771 (31%)/VL=UD(<30)
April 12 CD=609 (28%)/VL=UD(<20)
Aug 12 CD=657 (29%)/VL=UD(<20)
Dec 12 CD=532 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
May 13 CD=567 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
Jan 14 CD=521 (21%)/VL=UD(<50)

Offline aliveinla

  • Member
  • Posts: 247
Re: Traveling to China -- advice?
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2008, 10:52:47 AM »
I just turned down a job offer from my US company to be their China operations manager based in Shanghai with free apartment and a pay raise. My biggest concern is how to get meds and medical care when I need meds (not right now). There is also a very bad stigma against HIV in China. I am a native Chinese.
4/24/07: Last tested Neg
1/22/08: First tested Poz
1/30/08: CD4 393; 28%; VL: 44k
3/18/08: CD4 218; 26%; VL: 222K
4/24/08: CD4 402; 26%; VL: lab forgot
7/22/08: CD4 405; 25%; VL: 6,780
10/15/08: CD4 340, 26%; VL: N/A
2/4/09: CD4 394, 26%; VL: N/A
Jun 09: CD4 300, 25%; VL: 4000
Oct 09: CD4 324, 23%, VL: 10K
11/22/09: started Atripla
11/20/11: CD4 405; VL: UD

Offline texfire

  • Member
  • Posts: 23
Re: Traveling to China -- advice?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2008, 07:25:42 PM »
Hi,

Just to piggyback on this thread...
my work wants to send me to china for 2 weeks around olympics time.
I'm +, but on no meds.
I'm ok with lying on a form about my status, but do they actually test people?  do I have to provide some doctors statement to get a visa?
Most of the websites I find still say that we're banned, but at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/13/AR2008051302719.html , it says the ban has ended.. I just can't find that officically...

Thanks for any suggestions...

texfire

Offline Assurbanipal

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,173
  • Taking a forums break, still see PM's
Re: Traveling to China -- advice?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2008, 10:16:10 PM »
The State department has a list of requirements but it is old (2003)
http://travel.state.gov/law/info/info_621.html
It says testing is only required if you plan to stay 6 months or more.

They also have country specific info.  Here's the general link to info on China, but it is silent on HIV travel
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1089.html#entry_requirements

Komnaes posted about the new travel policy here
http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=17090.0

But it might be best just to have a friend call the Chinese consulate in Houston.  Their number is 7135201462
http://houston.china-consulate.org/eng/vp/default.htm

Final important note, if your CD4 count is under 500 you should also look over the CDC page on travel for the immunocompromised regarding special info on vaccinations, etc.
http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/yellowBookCh9-Immunocompromised.aspx

Regards
Assurbanipal

5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
2011 VL UD-20 CD4 568-673 24.7%-30.6%
2012 VL UD swap Prezista/Norvir for Reyataz drop statin CD4 768-828 26.7%-30.7%

Offline komnaes

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,898
Re: Traveling to China -- advice?
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2008, 11:23:30 PM »
Hi,

Just to piggyback on this thread...
my work wants to send me to china for 2 weeks around olympics time.
I'm +, but on no meds.
I'm ok with lying on a form about my status, but do they actually test people?  do I have to provide some doctors statement to get a visa?
Most of the websites I find still say that we're banned, but at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/13/AR2008051302719.html , it says the ban has ended.. I just can't find that officically...

Thanks for any suggestions...

texfire

The Chinese govt. has recently issued some "legal guidelines" for the Olympic period:

According to the Legal Guide, entry will be denied to those:

1) having been expelled from China by the Chinese government;
2) regarded as likely to carry out terrorist and violent attacks and engage in subversive activities;
3) regarded as likely to engage in drug trafficking and prostitution;
4) with mental illness and contagious diseases such as sexually transmitted disease, leprosy and tuberculosis;
5)  who cannot afford their expenses during their stay in China;
6) regarded as likely to engage in other activities that threaten the national security and interests of China.

No one knows how it would work and as far as I know your local Chinese consulate will not require anyone to produce proof that one's STD free in order to get a visa. It used to be the case that one has to fill in a form to declare one's HIV status but that they have cease using this form few months back when an official decree announced that people with HIV would not be banned from entering. And with this new legal guidelines they seem to have gone back to the ban, which is very sad.

But if you have discussed with your doctor that your health condition is great and it's only for a 2 weeks trip, I would not be too worried about it. As nonsensical with the US ban, officers cannot possibly tell if you're HIV or not and if you're not on meds there are nothing to search. Most critics here think that additional restrictions like STD just give officers new excuses to turn away people they think will give them troubles during the Olympics.
Aug 07 Diagnosed
Oct 07 CD4=446(19%) Feb 08 CD4=421(19%)
Jun 08 CD4=325(22%) Jul 08 CD4=301(18%)
Sep 08 CD4=257/VL=75,000 Oct 08 CD4=347(16%)
Dec 08 CD4=270(16%)
Jan 09 CD4=246(13%)/VL=10,000
Feb 09 CD4=233(15%)/VL=13,000
Started meds Sustiva/Epzicom
May 09 CD4=333(24%)/VL=650
Aug 09 CD4=346(24%)/VL=UD
Nov 09 CD4=437(26%)/VL=UD
Feb 10 CD4=471(31%)/VL=UD
June 10 CD4=517 (28%)/VL=UD
Sept 10 CD4=687 (31%)/VL=UD
Jan 11 CD4=557 (30%)/VL=UD
April 11 CD4=569 (32%)/VL=UD
Switched to Epizcom, Reyataz and Norvir
(Interrupted for 2 months with only Epizcom & Reyataz)
July 11 CD=520 (28%)/VL=UD
Oct 11 CD=771 (31%)/VL=UD(<30)
April 12 CD=609 (28%)/VL=UD(<20)
Aug 12 CD=657 (29%)/VL=UD(<20)
Dec 12 CD=532 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
May 13 CD=567 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
Jan 14 CD=521 (21%)/VL=UD(<50)

Offline texfire

  • Member
  • Posts: 23
Re: Traveling to China -- advice?
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2008, 08:18:45 AM »
Thanks for the quick responses.. I have until late this afternoon to let my work know...
I'd hate to have them go through the trouble of processing stuff for me for it to be denied and/or for me to get to china and then there's a problem.  All I can find is conflicting information regarding this subject...

The new visa form from the consulate does ask if one is HIV + or have AIDS...
http://www.china-embassy.org/chn/hzqz/zgqz/P020070611087242661716.pdf

But here, the state department says HIV testing is only mandatory if I would stay for more than six months...
http://travel.state.gov/law/info/info_621.html

It looks like I will have to 'declare' but not prove my status. 
And I was disappointed to see the new Olympic rules when it looked like they had relaxed them in the article I linked to in my previous post.

Thanks,
texfire

hopefully there's no good chinese government hackers on this board...


Offline aliveinla

  • Member
  • Posts: 247
Re: Traveling to China -- advice?
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2008, 10:15:19 AM »
Yeah I was pretty disappointed to see the new "legal guide", they seem very backward and communist like. Please keep us posted of how it goes since I am going to be a US citizen soon so I will need to apply for China visa when I enter. -- That's another thing I don't like about it: they don't allow dual citizenship.
4/24/07: Last tested Neg
1/22/08: First tested Poz
1/30/08: CD4 393; 28%; VL: 44k
3/18/08: CD4 218; 26%; VL: 222K
4/24/08: CD4 402; 26%; VL: lab forgot
7/22/08: CD4 405; 25%; VL: 6,780
10/15/08: CD4 340, 26%; VL: N/A
2/4/09: CD4 394, 26%; VL: N/A
Jun 09: CD4 300, 25%; VL: 4000
Oct 09: CD4 324, 23%, VL: 10K
11/22/09: started Atripla
11/20/11: CD4 405; VL: UD

Offline hivsweden

  • Member
  • Posts: 81
Re: Traveling to China -- advice?
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2008, 11:43:43 AM »
Yeah I was pretty disappointed to see the new "legal guide", they seem very backward and communist like.

Yes, it is very communist like. Strangely enough the US also have restrictions regarding hiv+ people. I've had to make excuses so I haven't had to make work trips to the US. It is a bit difficult explaining why I have to apply for a visa without disclosing my hiv-status.

Offline kyblueguy

  • New Member
  • Posts: 2
Re: Traveling to China -- advice?
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2008, 06:01:47 PM »
I just returned from China. I go about 3x year. I haven't had any problems with carrying my meds, though once they did look at a norvir container. I suggest carring non-identifiable containers.

I joined the forum today for this exact reason. A company has offered me a job in Shenzhen. The money, etc., is great and I would like to consider it. Would I be able to get my meds shipped there? I have read some information that makes me believe I can't. The company offers insurance, etc., but I would probably just travel bck to the states every 6-9 months for evaluation. I am very healthy but am on meds. Does anyone have any resources for people relocating to China? I'll be in the south eastern part, Shenzhen specifically.

Offline aliveinla

  • Member
  • Posts: 247
Re: Traveling to China -- advice?
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2008, 09:05:47 PM »
Maybe you should get a doctor in Hong Kong. I heard Hong Kong has one of the best health care systems in the world. Not sure whether yu can do it though since you will be in Shenzhen, only a stone throw away from Hong kong but that's a different system. komnaes is in HK.

I'll be in the south eastern part, Shenzhen specifically.
4/24/07: Last tested Neg
1/22/08: First tested Poz
1/30/08: CD4 393; 28%; VL: 44k
3/18/08: CD4 218; 26%; VL: 222K
4/24/08: CD4 402; 26%; VL: lab forgot
7/22/08: CD4 405; 25%; VL: 6,780
10/15/08: CD4 340, 26%; VL: N/A
2/4/09: CD4 394, 26%; VL: N/A
Jun 09: CD4 300, 25%; VL: 4000
Oct 09: CD4 324, 23%, VL: 10K
11/22/09: started Atripla
11/20/11: CD4 405; VL: UD

Offline Tempeboy

  • Member
  • Posts: 359
  • Like St Francis of Assisi I am wedded to Poverty
Re: Traveling to China -- advice?
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2008, 10:02:43 PM »
Hey Leximancer,

China has strict entry restrictions for people living with HIV.  This can be overcome for short visits but for longer visits blood tests are required.  Eve though there are strategies for short visits people can and do get deported.

Here are a few resources that might be helpful.

http://www.eatg.org/hivtravel/country.php?id=2030

http://ws5.e-vision.nl/systeem3/images/Quick%20Reference%202005.pdf

http://www.positivetravel.info/guide/

take care


« Last Edit: June 18, 2008, 10:04:16 PM by Tempeboy »
Roughly roundabout somewhere in the eighteenth or nineteenth century, Sodomite begat Homosexual out of moral, medical and legal models, bequeathing him Identity, who inbred with Nuclear Family and Industrialism to spawn Homophobia.

Dean Kiley

Offline komnaes

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,898
Re: Traveling to China -- advice?
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2008, 04:31:28 AM »
I just returned from China. I go about 3x year. I haven't had any problems with carrying my meds, though once they did look at a norvir container. I suggest carring non-identifiable containers.

I joined the forum today for this exact reason. A company has offered me a job in Shenzhen. The money, etc., is great and I would like to consider it. Would I be able to get my meds shipped there? I have read some information that makes me believe I can't. The company offers insurance, etc., but I would probably just travel bck to the states every 6-9 months for evaluation. I am very healthy but am on meds. Does anyone have any resources for people relocating to China? I'll be in the south eastern part, Shenzhen specifically.

Not having seen you checking back in kyblueguy I guess you might have discovered that you cannot get a work visa for China if you're HIV+. They require body check (like Singapore) not just for the initial visa but also for renewal. There's one way to get around but it requires a lot of coordination - Shenzhen is right next to Hong Kong so if possible you can have your company sending you to Hong Kong instead. One you have permit to work in Hong Kong the government will issue you an ID card, which will make it easier to apply for a multiple visa to go in and out of China easily. I know a few people doing this to get around the rule.

But of course it means that your company has a base in Hong Kong and is willing to do so. Once you have a work visa in Hong Kong, you can either continue to receive your meds from the US and there are a few doctors you can go see for regular check-ups. I cannot say for sure but it should also mean that you're entitled to the close-to-free medication services here. I cannot say for sure because I don't know rather it requires permanent citizenship for the (still) universal health care here, or a work visa is enough.
Aug 07 Diagnosed
Oct 07 CD4=446(19%) Feb 08 CD4=421(19%)
Jun 08 CD4=325(22%) Jul 08 CD4=301(18%)
Sep 08 CD4=257/VL=75,000 Oct 08 CD4=347(16%)
Dec 08 CD4=270(16%)
Jan 09 CD4=246(13%)/VL=10,000
Feb 09 CD4=233(15%)/VL=13,000
Started meds Sustiva/Epzicom
May 09 CD4=333(24%)/VL=650
Aug 09 CD4=346(24%)/VL=UD
Nov 09 CD4=437(26%)/VL=UD
Feb 10 CD4=471(31%)/VL=UD
June 10 CD4=517 (28%)/VL=UD
Sept 10 CD4=687 (31%)/VL=UD
Jan 11 CD4=557 (30%)/VL=UD
April 11 CD4=569 (32%)/VL=UD
Switched to Epizcom, Reyataz and Norvir
(Interrupted for 2 months with only Epizcom & Reyataz)
July 11 CD=520 (28%)/VL=UD
Oct 11 CD=771 (31%)/VL=UD(<30)
April 12 CD=609 (28%)/VL=UD(<20)
Aug 12 CD=657 (29%)/VL=UD(<20)
Dec 12 CD=532 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
May 13 CD=567 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
Jan 14 CD=521 (21%)/VL=UD(<50)

Offline kyblueguy

  • New Member
  • Posts: 2
Re: Traveling to China -- advice?
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2008, 07:39:12 AM »
Thank you komnaes. I just had my interview last night and was waiting to see if I even wanted the job to explore this further. I was wondering if the would do a body check. I guess I have my answer. My industry and this company does not seem real HIV+ friendly. While I had my doubts about the job, and quite honestly my ability physically and mentally to handle it, I think I have my answer!  ;D

Thanks for all the great information.

 


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