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Preventing Infections During Travel

When You Travel

Food and water in developing countries may not be as clean as they are at home. These items might contain bacteria, viruses, or parasites that could make you sick.

  • Do not eat raw fruit and vegetables that you do not peel yourself, raw or undercooked seafood or meat, unpasteurized dairy products, or anything from a street vendor. Also, do not drink tap water, drinks made with tap water, or with ice made from tap water, or unpasteurized milk.
  • Food and drinks that are generally safe include steaming-hot foods, fruits that you peel yourself, bottled (especially carbonated) drinks, hot coffee or tea, beer, wine,and water that you bring to a rolling boil for1 full minute. If you can't boil your water, you can filter and treat it with iodine or chlorine, but this will not work as well as boiling.
  • Tuberculosis, or "TB," is very common worldwide, and can be severe in people with HIV. Avoid hospitals and clinics where coughing TB patients are treated. When back in the United States, have your doctor test you for TB.
  • In many places, animals may roam more freely than they do in the area where you live. If you think animals have left droppings on beaches or other areas, always wear shoes and protective clothing and sit on a towel to avoid direct contact with the sand or soil.
  • Swimming can make you sick if you swallow water. You should never swim in water that might contain even very small amounts of sewage or animal waste. To make sure that you get the most fun from your trip, protect your health (and the health of others) just as you do at home.
  • Take all medications as prescribed by your doctor.
  • If your doctor has you on a special diet, stick with it.

Take the same precautions that you take at home to prevent giving HIV to others.

For More Information

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers international travel information on the Internet at www.cdc.gov/travel/travel.html and by telephone at 888-232-3228. This number also provides an information "menu," including how to receive specific travel advice by fax.

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WebMD Public Information from the CDC

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