Migration is a global phenomenon that inﬂuences the health of individuals and populations over the course of a lifetime. A variety of obstacles to HIV care for migrants include immigration policies, migrants’ social determinants of health, migrants’ awareness about HIV, stigma and discrimination in the host country, migrants’ language skills as well as the legal status. These determinants of migrants’ health are complex and interrelated. It indicates that there is a clear need for more individualized support of migrants. When it comes to specific needs of migrants living with HIV free access to health care and antiviral therapy is necessary but not enough to address their health needs.
On the global policy level, in early 1990s it was acknowledged that heterosexual transmission had exceeded homosexual transmission of HIV, which was linked to migration. Entry restrictions for people living with HIV/AIDS have been debated among politicians, public health officials and experts since the early days of the epidemic when governments justified them by reasons of epidemiologic security and protection of domestic population. These restrictions were deeply rooted in the public misconceptions about HIV and the fear of key populations: sex workers, men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs, and of course migrants are often perceived in the host countries are the “source of the disease” and problem. Later, governments realized that these bans had no positive effect on public health but, instead, posed a serious threat to HIV prevention and treatment. These restrictions violate the rights of people with HIV to health, privacy, equality and non-discrimination. In 2016, Member States of the United Nations signed an Political Declaration to get rid of HIV-related travel restrictions. In 2019, still 48 countries had some form of HIV-related travel restriction and 19 countries had legal norms on deportation of HIV-positive international migrants, including Russia. Many countries liberalized legislation regarding the rules of entry and stay of migrants with HIV in the last decade.