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Earlier this month, IGLTA, the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association, along with its charitable IGLTA Foundation and Gilead, released a new resource specifically for HIV-positive travelers.

The guide, “LGBTQ+ Travel and HIV: Navigating the World Safely,” contains tips for pre-trip planning as well as practical advice to use upon arrival. Just as many countries present added considerations for LGBTQ+ travelers, many also require unique precautions for travelers with HIV. Sections cover safety, the impact on visas, and tips for pre-trip planning, as well as suggestions for while abroad.

“We wanted to provide a resource that was easy to follow and addressed the travel process from start to finish,” said IGLTA President/CEO John Tanzella. “The guide takes HIV-positive travelers through entry requirements, safety, packing medications, and staying healthy while on the road—complete with a quick checklist to keep you on track for each trip.”

Tanzella explained that through the philanthropic IGLTA Foundation, the association often partners with businesses to create free resources and research that will benefit the LGBTQ+ traveling community.

“As an organization, we’re interested in exploring intersectionality within our LGBTQ+ community, whether through geography, DEI, or in this case, traveling with HIV/AIDS. This has actually been a couple of years in the making. It was completed before COVID-19 vaccines were widely available, so we didn’t want to promote a guide for immune-compromised travelers until the travel forecast looked somewhat brighter,” he said.

Tanzella said that the biggest surprise in researching the information was that there are so many places in the world where HIV and AIDS are still highly stigmatized and that those places don’t necessarily coincide with the places that stigmatize being LGBTQ+. And he explained that while there are other resources for travelers with HIV, the goal was to make this guide as comprehensive as possible.

“We wanted our guide to include practical, actionable advice for all travelers with HIV, alongside details on country-specific travel restrictions. Because we tap into a different network through our work in tourism versus that of HIV and health organizations, it was an opportunity to expand the reach for this information,” he said.

A key part of the association’s mission is to provide information and resources for LGBTQ+ travelers—and the IGLTA Foundation empowers LGBTQ+ welcoming travel businesses globally through leadership, research and education—so this guide fits neatly into the groups’ roles. Tanzella said that the plan is to revisit the guide annually to accommodate for changes in laws and restrictions related to HIV-positive travelers and/or traveling with HIV medications.

IGLTA currently has more than 30 LGBTQ+ travel guides at its website, iglta.org. Most of them are country-specific but they also have guides dedicated to travel safety, including one that was created for transgender travelers. There’s also a marriage equality guide that is linked to Destination Pride, to illustrate LGBTQ+ rights and protections globally. Tanzella said they want to add LGBTQ+ family travel resources in 2022 as well.

IGLTA is planning on promoting the guide by sharing it through its global B2B and B2C networks, and the association is also planning to translate it into Spanish.

The guide can be found with all of IGLTA’s travel guides here: https://www.iglta.org/lgbtq-travel-guides as well as on the iglta.org/research page.



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