Unfortunately, the government can refuse to make you a permanent resident or renew a temporary resident status if you have certain STIs (sexually transmitted infections, previously known as STDs). More specifically, people living with HIV or chronic hepatitis B or C can have a harder time moving to Canada or becoming a resident.
How does immigration know if I have an STI?
If you plan on moving to Canada for longer than 6 months, they ask you to take a medical exam. If they find a long-term, expensive STI like HIV or chronic hepatitis, it can make immigrating harder. They can reject you if they see an “excessive demand on health or social services.” This means if you’d need a public health plan to pay $6,450 or more per year over 5 years.
Basically, the government can refuse potential immigrants because they don’t want to pay for medications for HIV and chronic Hep B or C.
Can immigration refuse me for other STIs?
Other medications are usually not expensive enough to be an issue. This includes treatment for herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia and other STIs. It’s still better to treat them as soon as possible for the health of you and your partners.
Syphilis can still be grounds for rejection if it’s not treated properly. But, if you’re getting treatment for syphilis that follows Canadian standards, there’s a good chance it won’t be an issue. To avoid any issues, you can get tested often and get any treatment you need.
Are there ways of moving to Canada with HIV and/or chronic hepatitis?
There are some ways to get around these laws. So, if you have HIV, chronic hepatitis, and/or another expensive condition, you can immigrate if…
- You can show you’ll pay for your own medical expenses or get private insurance.
You apply as a refugee.
You apply as a spouse or partner of a Canadian resident.
You apply as a dependent child of a Canadian resident. For this, you need to be 22 or under and single.
If you fall into any of these, you can challenge a rejection. You’ll have to respond to the immigration or visa officer within 60 days to challenge.
How can I protect myself? Should I still have sex?
There are lots of ways to protect yourself and lower the risk of STIs. You can have safer sex by using condoms and dental dams (squares of latex for oral sex on a vagina or anus). You can lower your risk even more by getting tested regularly. If it’s possible, you can also ask with your partner(s) when they were tested and if they have any STIs. By doing this, you make STIs like HIV and hepatitis a low risk while enjoying sex!
Check out the links below for more on moving to Canada and STIs.
Can a person living with HIV immigrate to Canada? – COCQ-SIDA
This extensive article looks at the laws around immigrating to Canada if you’re HIV positive. It shows that while it’s often not possible, there are specific circumstances where people living with HIV can immigrate to Canada.
Immigrants, refugees and non-status people with HIV – CATIE
This extensive article looks at how people who immigrate to Canada can access healthcare and apply to become permanent or long-term residents.
Excessive Demand on Health and Social Services – CIC
A document from the Canadian Immigration Center explaining how they judge applicants for “excessive demand on health and social services” and how to challenge this judgement if necessary.