HIV+ travellers will no longer have to declare status on newly launched insurance policy

Joanna Whitehead
HIV+ people should not have to pay a premium because of their status: istock/Getty Images

HIV+ travellers will no longer have to declare their status on a new travel insurance policy launched yesterday with LGBT+ insurance company Emerald Life.

The pioneering policy states that HIV+ customers will not be required to disclose it as a pre-existing medical condition providing they are on stable anti-viral medication and have an undetectable viral load.

Health professionals have long argued that HIV+ people with an undetectable viral load on regular medication can live a long and healthy life if they comply with treatment.

Despite this, insurers across the board have failed to update their policies, resulting in HIV+ people having to pay more.

Steve Wardlow, the chairman of Emerald Life, told Gay Star News: “Emerald is very proud to introduce this revolutionary, game-changing travel insurance. The insurance industry and the UK as a whole need to wake up and become more familiar with the recent advances in HIV treatment.

“People living with HIV can suffer high levels of alienation that can stop them from taking basic precautions like travel insurance when they go abroad. Everyone should be able to insure themselves with a respectful customer journey, without fear of stigma or discrimination.”

Matthew Hodson, Chief Executive of HIV information service NAM, also welcomed the move: "It will allow people with HIV to travel, for business and pleasure, with the same security as others.

“So far, not all parts of the insurance industry recognise how far we have come in our ability to treat HIV effectively. With prompt diagnosis and treatment, our life expectancy is unchanged. People living with this virus should not be penalised as a result of out of date perceptions of HIV.”

Emerald Life also offers a 24-hour helpline for those detained, arrested or assaulted for any reason while travelling. This is particularly important for LGBT+ travellers who may face additional violence or harassment while abroad. Same sex activity remains illegal in 72 countries around the world and punishable by death in nine.