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Author Topic: Traveling to the States  (Read 2959 times)

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Offline AtomicA

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Traveling to the States
« on: December 02, 2006, 05:29:20 PM »
So I know that because of some very strange laws being HIV positive means that I am not legally allowed to enter the US. Before I started meds this really wasn't a problem as no one at the border had anyway of knowing. Some friends of mine and I are planning a trip down to possibly Florida or California for the February reading break from school and I'm a little concerned about getting across the border.

My clinic says that they can give me non-descriptive prescription bottles that won't say the names of my drugs or mention HIV in any way but I'm still really concerned about being searched. I have had my luggage lost twice so I am not comfortable putting my meds in my checked baggage and my efavirenz pills are huge, orange and have a bold SUSTIVA written across the front of them. All a customs official would have to do is a) know a little something about anti-virals (not likely) or b) type the name into any generic search engine and I would be busted.

If I got busted would my passport go onto some blacklist and I'd never be able to go to or fly through the states again? Anyone have any suggestions as to how I can avoid this without risking losing my meds for days-weeks?

Offline Boo Radley

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Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2006, 07:00:45 PM »
Geez, Atomic, I wish I had some decent advice but the only ruse I can think of is shipping your meds into the states to avoid traveling into the USA with them.  That could be rather tricky.  If you want to ship a week's supply (or whatever) to me I'll gladly ship them next-day to you when you reach your destination.

I have no idea how strictly enforced the unconscionable damn law is but I think you'd be safe carrying your prescriptions with you in a carry-on as long as each bottle didn't look "suspicious" (e.g., an unlabeled bottle of pills).  Being a (red-faced with embarressment) U.S. citizen I can't offer anything more than that.  Somehow I doubt a baggage-checker is going to be looking for HAART-related drugs but don't know for certain.

Hope you get a more useful answer!  Good luck!

Boo
String up every aristocrat!
Out with the priests and let them live on their fat!





Everything I do, say, think, excrete, secrete, exude, ooze, or write © 2007 Sweet Old Boo, Inc.

Offline Eldon

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Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2006, 07:50:16 PM »
Hey Adam,

I would be more than happy to have you mail your meds here to Florida since you are coming down this way and give them to your or mail them back to where you are going to stay.

Are you coming to visit Mickey Mouse and his gang?

Just PM me if you wish.

Happy Holidays!
« Last Edit: December 02, 2006, 08:31:16 PM by Eldon »

Offline Cliff

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Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2006, 08:23:51 PM »
The most used option is to just keep your meds with you (in your carrying luggage) and walk through customs like all the other visitors.  It's highly unlikely (as in extremely rare) for folks to be caught being HIV positive.  You can get your doctor to write a note saying that the meds are a medical necessity, (maybe include a very UNspecific diagnosis), just in case they decide to check your carrying case.

Mailing it to someone in the states ahead of time is another option (as noted above), but it's also not without its risk (parcels/mail goes through US customs just like people do and sometimes packages can be lost or delayed).  If you choose the mailing route, do it well in advance of your trip to make sure it arrives on time and in one piece).

Good luck. 

Cliff

Offline Tucsonwoody

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Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2006, 11:49:49 PM »
I can't add much advice to that listed by the guys above and it seems like the best bet is to repackage meds and keep them with you.  I checked a few websites out (and as usual there are a ton with information) and they basically recommended the same thing.

Here is a link to one site that has some pretty recent info: http://www.aidsnet.ch/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=246

You might also check the Canadian and USA State Department websites as they both have info.

Anyway, hope this helps and that you have a great visit to sunny Florida during the cold winter.  Of course Arizona is a lot hotter place ya know :)
And I wished for guidance, and I wished for peace
I could see the lightning; somewhere in the east
And I wished for affection, and I wished for calm
As I lay there - Nervous in the light of dawn

Offline jntmax39

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Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2006, 12:19:11 AM »
WOW ATOMICA
iI DID NOT KNOW THAT.WHY WOULD SOMEONE WHO IS HIV+ NOT BE ALLOWED IN THE STATES? WHO MADE UP THAT STUPID LAW? I WILL IN THE FUTURE PAY ATTENTION TO WHO I VOTE FOR IN THE FUTURE AS FAR AS LAW MAKERS. THAT IS NOT FAIR.THEY WOULDN'T DO THAT TO A CANCER PT.

Offline gerry

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Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2006, 12:50:11 AM »
This is timely news for this topic:

Bush to ease rule limiting HIV-positive foreign visitors

Quote
Sabin Russell, Chronicle Medical Writer
Saturday, December 2, 2006

President Bush will ease a long-standing rule barring HIV-positive people from entering the United States without a special waiver, a ban long criticized by human rights groups.

Because of the rule, organizers of the biannual International AIDS Conferences have not held a gathering in the United States since 1990, when San Francisco hosted the event.

The White House chose Friday, World AIDS Day, to announce that Bush would issue an executive order allowing HIV-positive people to enter the United States on short-term tourist or business visas without having to seek special permission.

"This administration is very serious about fighting discrimination on AIDS,'' U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul said during a telephone interview after White House ceremonies marking the day.

Activists, taken by surprise by the announcement, generally praised Bush's decision but said all restrictions on immigrants with HIV should be lifted.

"It's a step away from a terribly discriminatory and inappropriate policy, but it doesn't go far enough,'' said Leonard Rubenstein, executive director of Physicians for Human Rights, in Washington. "This is a treatable disease. If you want to remove stigma from AIDS, you have to go the whole distance, and eliminate all restrictions on entry to the United States for people with HIV.''

UCSF physician Donald Abrams, who helped organize the 1990 AIDS conference, called Bush's move "a humane and positive thing.'' But he was uncertain whether it would pave the way for the big international AIDS meetings to return to U.S. soil.

"It is certainly a step that will serve to bring us in line with the rest of the civilized world,'' he said.

Abrams said that many HIV-positive travelers entering the United States simply ignore the requirement that they declare themselves infected with the virus. But those who must also carry antiviral drugs are inevitably fearful they will be found out and turned back if customs officials find the medication, he said.

"You don't know how many people have called in their prescriptions to Walgreens because they are paranoid someone will check their bag,'' he said.

Mark Sawyer, a co-founder of ACT UP New York who has campaigned against the ban since it was first put in place in 1987, said Bush's plan to lift the requirement for short-term visits was not good enough.

Under the proposed new rule, HIV-positive people would receive a "categorical waiver" of the requirement on business or tourist visas for visits up to 60 days. It remains unclear whether visitors would still have to declare their HIV status, because the waiver would be granted automatically.

"We shouldn't have to get a waiver, period,'' Sawyer said.

International visitors to the United States who are HIV-positive have been able to obtain a special waiver for some events, such as United Nations conferences on AIDS or gay athletic events. But the process is cumbersome, and critics call it discriminatory and demeaning.

Offline monmon

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Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2006, 05:09:19 AM »
Thanks for the post Gerry!

I wonder what is the meaning of this new waiver.  Any difference between the previous waiver?  Any idea?

Offline gerry

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Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2006, 10:02:49 AM »
We'll probably have to wait and see what's in the provisions of the executive order.  I don't think it will change the rules on immigration and obtaining that waiver, though.  The waiver that was being referred to here is the one that's currently needed to visit the US temporarily if one reveals that he/she is HIV positive before trying to enter the US.

Offline AtomicA

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Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2006, 07:54:58 PM »
that's pretty sweet. Does this mean that I can carry my drugs with me no problem now or will there have to be some period of time before a new law is passed? If I understood that article correctly it was saying that I won't have to declare anything about my status?

Offline Tucsonwoody

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Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2006, 08:59:50 PM »
Not sure when this new policy kicks in - hope it's soon so my embarassment can go down a little and you and others can visit without all the BS.  One thing I'd checkout is how they will stamp your visa.  I think I read that under the old rules they stamped visas with something that indicated the person was a special case for entry into the US.

Also good luck tomorrow - hope everything works out well for you.

And I wished for guidance, and I wished for peace
I could see the lightning; somewhere in the east
And I wished for affection, and I wished for calm
As I lay there - Nervous in the light of dawn

Offline Coffeechick88

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  • Posts: 431
Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2006, 09:11:12 PM »
I am a US citizen and this is one of the issues that makes me embarassed of that fact.  I know some countries (such as Saudi Arabia) with such restrictions make everyone take an HIV test and expel them if positive, but I do know the US doesn't go that far.  I believe they only would make one get a test under certain situations.  I think your best bet would be to have a labeled prescription bottle that isn't boldly marked with the medicine's name and put your pills in there.  If you can get the name of an entirely different medicine put on there, such as a heart medication or arthritis pills, an even bigger bonus.  Carry these in the your carry on luggage, so they will be with you.  You can be someone with diabetes or heart disease, pick whatever conditon you want, just don't say HIV.  They would probably only actually make an issue of the bottles of meds if they seemed suspicious, but if you appear to have a legitimate medical condition and the bottles are properly labeled and you acted as if nothing was wrong, I don't think that would be a problem.  I would get a note from the doctor saying they are necessary for your medical condition, just have the doctor not say the condition is HIV.
Lucas James is here
Born 6-14-08 at 1233 am
8 lbs 14 oz, 22 in long

Offline Boo Radley

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    • Animal Rescue New Orleans
Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2006, 09:36:29 PM »
that's pretty sweet. Does this mean that I can carry my drugs with me no problem now or will there have to be some period of time before a new law is passed? If I understood that article correctly it was saying that I won't have to declare anything about my status?

Until President Bush issues the Executive Order the current Draconian, unconscionable law is still in effect.  When he issues the EO it may have a future date for implementation but we won't know until he makes the first move.

Quote
"It is certainly a step that will serve to bring us in line with the rest of the civilized world,''

Now if the USA could stop executing prisoners and legalize gay unions we'd be even more in line with the civilized world.  But that's another thread...

Boo
String up every aristocrat!
Out with the priests and let them live on their fat!





Everything I do, say, think, excrete, secrete, exude, ooze, or write © 2007 Sweet Old Boo, Inc.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2006, 10:02:53 PM »
Wow... Bush actually did something admirable.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline Bartro

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Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2006, 10:24:12 PM »
I just switched to Atripla and all they have on them is 123.  I keep them in a vitamin bottle.
Rusty

Offline Double M

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Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2006, 01:08:24 AM »
Not sure when this new policy kicks in - hope it's soon so my embarassment can go down a little and you and others can visit without all the BS.  One thing I'd checkout is how they will stamp your visa.  I think I read that under the old rules they stamped visas with something that indicated the person was a special case for entry into the US.

Also good luck tomorrow - hope everything works out well for you.


Hi,

Iím a Londoner currently working out in LA for six months so I had to get a waiver before coming out here. Basically you get issued the normal visa but in the annotation section it will have added something like:

212(small a)(ii)(3) waiver of 212 (small d)(iii) granted.

Not the exact letters but you get the idea. So I guess unless you know what the above actually means itís not that obvious.

Although getting the waiver does delay the process, you have to have an additional interview, be referred to the DHS and I was pulled aside at LAX, it wasnít that significant a delay and all the US embassy staff in London and the customs officials at the Airport were very polite and pretty sensitive about the issue.

I guess Iím also lucky in that both my employer and my health clinic were able to give me good references in my application for the visa and waiver.

Needless to say neither my hand luggage with 1 monthís supply of drugs or my checked bags with the other 5 were ever actually searched but there you goÖ

Lloyd

Offline jack

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Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2006, 09:25:58 AM »
I wouldn't worry about it unless you have your drugs stashed in a prayer mat. If you are worried just put them in your checked baggage. Even if lost they always get it to you in a couple of days in the states.
Just watch the TSA agents, they swiped a watch of mine and stole jewelry from the purse of a wife of a friend. What do you expect from government employees?

Offline Coffeechick88

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Re: Traveling to the States
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2006, 10:41:51 AM »
I had to pinch myself when I read about push relaxing some of the restriction for visitors.  It's sad that I get so shocked when our president does something with some common sense.  Does anyone know when this will all take effect?
Lucas James is here
Born 6-14-08 at 1233 am
8 lbs 14 oz, 22 in long

 


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