International Medical Travel and HIV Treatment

Several studies, for example Johnson & Vindrola-Padros (2014), Van Beckhoven, et al., (2015), and Whittaker & Leng (2016) have looked at the recurrent trend of patients with HIV-AIDS engaging in international health travel. This increase in healthcare-seeking behaviors across borders is often called, in the literature, medical tourism/medical travel and/or health tourism/health travel. In his study of migration and medical travel, Vequist (2021) found that although many of these international health travelers were seeking better quality procedures in a new country (in this case- from Mexico to the U.S.), overall they had slightly lower ratings of healthcare status after the cross-border travel. However, when treatments are in rare supply or even unavailable within your country (see more in Pheage’s article from 2017 posted on the UN’s website) then international travel may be one of the only ways in which a potential patient has to access the care they seek. In order to be ready for these patient flows, healthcare providers in effected regions need to be prepared. As Guiry, et al. (2013) stated “service providers also need to understand and act on (medical tourists’) expectations in advance and if necessary, improve management skills, training programs and front-line employee service delivery attitudes and behaviors.” This presentation will reflect on these issues and show how medical travel is one of the possible medium to long-term solutions to this continuing global health issue.

Author(s): David G. Vequist IV

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