PRESS RELEASES

SEE WHAT NAT HAS TO SAY ON TOPICS IN HIV AND HIV-RELATED EVENTS

Health Tourism - Daily Mail letter.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dear Editor,

In your article, 19 April 2013, 'How I'll weed out the health tourists, by Hunt: Minister acts after Mail highlights abuse of NHS', the article talks of ‘thousands’ of people coming to the UK for HIV treatment then leaving without paying. However, our 2008 report, ‘The myth of HIV health tourism’, clearly demonstrates that HIV health tourism in the UK is simply not the problem your article claims.

Evidence shows that levels of HIV amongst migrants to the UK are in general significantly below HIV levels in their countries of origin, showing people with HIV are less likely to migrate to the UK than those without HIV. Data from the HPA showed that most migrants come to the UK unaware of their HIV status and do not test for HIV until an average of five years after arrival, borne out by the fact that men from African communities have the highest rates of late HIV diagnosis in the UK. 

The myth of HIV health tourism is hardly a new one. In fact in April 2004, in response to such concerns, the Government introduced charges for HIV treatment for certain migrants. However this had no effect at all on levels of migration.

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive, NAT (National AIDS Trust)