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New Zealander newly HIV+ in US. Please help!! Insurance and visa issues

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jackmax2:
Hello,

I am a student from New Zealand who was just diagnosed. I am worried that if I disclose this information to my school for insurance purposes that this could effect my visa status and future residency and travel between countries.

Also I was tested anonymously but I was told that if you test positive then your results become un-anonymous. What is the truth in this?

Finally, I want to apply for ADAP just in case my student insurance doesn't cover what I need. I know it is a government agency and I am worried about confidentiality again.

Any law specialists out there?

Please Help.

J

lydgate:
I'm in a similiar situation. I'm a student from India, and I was diagnosed nearly a year ago. I didn't have the option of withholding my status from the university since my preliminary test was ordered through student health services. However, even if I had tested elsewhere or tested anonymously, I would almost certainly have disclosed the information to a few doctors and clinics at the university, since my excellent insurance coverage is through the university. There's no way I could afford to pay for the tests and doctor visits and (at some point, presumably) meds out-of-pocket. And, in general, it makes sense for your primary care physician, the person who sees you for all your basic medical needs, not just HIV-related, to know the specifics of your health.

Like you, last year I was freaking out not only over the fact that I'd tested poz, but about visa and insurance stuff. And fighting depression. A pretty heady combination. But: my experience so far has been pretty reassuring.

First: Yes, my HIV status is part of my medical record. But for the HIV-specific information to be released to anyone, I have to sign a specific consent form each time. Sure, it's not Fort Knox-protected information, but I'm not paranoid; I don't think that medical clerks or nurses or doctors are looking at my file and waiting to spread the news, or snitch to the government.

Second: I'm in a state that has mandatory names-based reporting. (Very likely you are too.) So the Iowa health authorities do have my name and test details etc. However, when the state authorities report their pooled data to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control, the national infectious diseases agency), no names are used, only numbers or codes. Ditto when the CDC reports its data to the the DHHS in Washington, DC. There is no national database of HIV-infected individuals which uses names or other identifying characteristics. This is what I've been told and this is what I've read. And so, there is almost certainly no list of foreign nationals with HIV; certainly no such list available to every immigration and customs official at every airport.  :o

Third: I had to have a chat with a health worker for the county -- a really nice woman who talked to me about privacy, legal issues, partner notification. I was reassured on the privacy front -- apparently my file at the county health center, and even the notes she was taking, cannot be subpoenaed by any court for any reason. Not sure I believe that entirely, but it was reassuring to hear.

Fourth: US citizenship is not a requirement for ADAP or Ryan White funds. I've chosen -- for the moment anyway -- not to apply for Ryan White. This is based on what might be shaky logic: since I would like to live in the States, I want to be able to prove, not only that I will never be a "burden" on public funds in the future, but also that I've never used them in the past.

Fifth: The nurse-practitioner who helped found the university's HIV clinic in 1988 told me that she's treated many foreign students over the years and has several international students patients now. Including some who are applying for permanent residency (it's a lot tougher, but it is possible).

Sixth: My not being a US citizen is the only reason I'm not completely "out" about my status. While I don't think the government is out to "get" me, I'm not about to tell them my status. Taking it one year, one semester, one day at a time.

Seventh: I'm not sure about anonymous testing becoming non-anonymous once a positive result is found. How would that be possible, given that, by definition, an anonymous test is one in which no personal information is gathered? That is, you're a sequence of letters and numbers, not a name. But I may be missing something. And I'm hoping that someone else on these forums, familiar with the ADAP process, will be be able to answer your concerns about confidentiality.

OK. Now take a deep breath. And another. Things may seem impossible and crazy right now but you're going to be fine. Seriously, it gets better, I promise. Like I said earlier, take it one day at a time. I'm hoping you have a good support network of friends where you are. And guess what: you just found a great support network by coming here. These forums are incredible -- for information as well as love and support and friendship.

Write back with other questions, about anything. And let us know how you're doing. And welcome to AIDSmeds.

Jay

jackmax2:
Excellent. Thanks for the in depth response. I think I do need to see a lawyer and make sure I unserstand the laws that apply in New York, but your encouragement is very helpful.

Thanks.

mike:

--- Quote from: lydgate on August 19, 2006, 01:08:48 AM ---Fourth: US citizenship is not a requirement for ADAP or Ryan White funds. I've chosen -- for the moment anyway -- not to apply for Ryan White. This is based on what might be shaky logic: since I would like to live in the States, I want to be able to prove, not only that I will never be a "burden" on public funds in the future, but also that I've never used them in the past.

--- End quote ---

I wish you the best of luck, don't want to be negative about that but i have a friend who had a J-1 visa as a student in the states and tested positive there, he had the same scenario as you but once his visa expired, that was it, he was forced to leave.
To live permanently you need a residency permit ( green card ) and you probably know that to get that card you have to take an HiV test, they will not consider anybody who tests positive for permanent entry, regardless of their health situation or past history in the United States.

Hope:
To jackmax, lydgate and  other members that are in this visa situation.

Hi guys. I recently tested positive here in the US too and I am as paranoid as they come and I am so scared. Anyway, my main worry right now is that I am on a work visa and I would like to travel outside the USA for a few weeks and come back to the USA after my vacation. Question is, have any of you guys in the same visa situation travelled in and out of the USA? How did it go at the airport, do the officials have records of the hiv status? I am currently not on meds. Can I travel and come back to the USA without being told that i cant enter anymore. Please help me, so desperate, sad and scared!!!

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