Issues for Australian PLWHA travellers

How The Qantas Move To UAE Impacts Australian PLWHA Travellers

Hey there Guys. While The Healthy Bear is not a blog devoted to travel, today I was alerted to an important problem for Australian PLWHA travellers after the Qantas Emirates codeshare agreement.

Recently Qantas has forged a codeshare deal with Emirates that funnels Qantas flights to Europe via the Emirates home base in UAE. For Australian PLWHA travellers and cabin crew this poses a significant problem as highlighted by the Airline Hub Buzz blog:

Vistors and expatriates living in the UAE who are known or a found to be HIV positive are in most instances deported or detained in detention centres.

HIV is generally viewed and treated as a “morality disease” and as such is not tolerated.

Whilst there has been some progression in terms of human rights there is still a long way to go in terms of the UAE being on par with other nations where HIV positive people cannot be discriminated upon. It is common place for employers in the UAE to conduct regular blood tests. Furthermore the health status of the individual needs to be declared on any visa application for the UAE.

The HIV medication is effectively illegal in the UAE so hiding the disease would be virtually impossible.

PLWHA.org notes that there are only 5 counties in the world with complete bans on entry for people living with HIV:

  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Oman
  • Sudan
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Yemen

For Australian PLWHA travellers to Europe the Qantas Emirate merger presents a significant issue. For some flight crew this may lead to important changes is rostering, aircraft endorsements and potential to work.

For PLWHA travellers seeking alternative routes to Europe, even flights via Singapore can be problematic. While Singapore has no HIV testing for short term visitors, HIVTravel.org notes:

Foreign nationals with AIDS or who are HIV-positive are expelled. HIV-positive foreign spouses of Singaporeans are exempt and allowed to remain in Singapore. Entering with ARVs for personal use requires approval by authorities. Use local hospitals with caution: Singapore doctors are required to report anyone found to be HIV-positive to the authorities.

For PLWHA it is highly recommend reviewing the following resources to ensure smooth travels.

Helpful resources:

HIVTravel.org
PLWHA.org
The Australian Federation Of AIDS Organisations Travel Guide
AIDS Maps’s guide to travel insurance

If you are working as flight crew I urge you to read the full article “Airlines HIV/AIDS and the UAE” at Airline Hub Buzz.

Yours in good health.

Dr George