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Int J STD AIDS. 1997 Jan;8(1):44-9.

Travels with HIV: the compliance and health of HIV-infected adults who travel.

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Department of Medicine, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose, CA 95128, USA.


We examined the effects of travel on the health of a group of HIV-infected adults (n = 89) cared for in a public hospital HIV clinic. In a period of 2 years, 45% travelled to a median of 3 US destinations for at least one week and 20% travelled to at least one international destination for a mean duration of 20 days. At the time of completion of the survey, the majority of these patients were severely immunosuppressed (median CD4+ count, 120/mm3). A physician was consulted concerning travel before 53% of the trips, but only one person consulted a travel medicine expert. All but one patient (98%) who was receiving medical therapy carried sufficient supplies of medication; 95% estimated their compliance with medication at 75% or better. None of the travellers to developing countries received gamma globulin, but one received yellow fever vaccine. Fifteen travellers (43%) became ill either during their trip or immediately thereafter; 3 required hospitalization. While most illnesses were not severe, 4 patients developed potentially life-threatening infections including coccidioidomycosis, cryptococcosis, PCP, and bacterial pneumonia. This survey provides information by which the clinician can anticipate the health care needs of HIV-infected patients who travel. HIV-infected patients should be more aware of the necessity for medical counsel prior to travel.

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