Little is known about the frequency and pattern of travel in the HIV-infected population.
A test questionnaire administered to patients cared for at a public hospital HIV clinic examined the frequency, destinations, and motivations for travel of persons with HIV disease.
Of 89 persons surveyed, 46% had traveled within the preceding 2 years within the United States for a minimum of 1 week, or to a foreign destination. Forty patients (45%) had traveled to a mean of 3.4 destinations within the United States for an average trip duration of 16 days. In addition, 18 patients (20%) had traveled to at least one foreign country for an average of 20 days. Of the 25 foreign destinations that were specified, 15 (60%) were in lesser developed countries. Patients stated that they undertook 30% of their trips because they thought it was their last chance to travel. At the time of completion of the survey, the majority of those patients who had traveled were severely immunosuppressed (median CD4+ count, 120/mm3).
These data provide information by which the clinician can anticipate the health care needs of patients who travel and develop appropriate travel medicine guidelines.