Is Moving to Canada Harder If You Have HIV or Other STIs?


Is Moving to Canada Harder If You Have HIV or Other STIs?

Unfortunately, the government can refuse someone’s application for permanent residence (PR) or temporary residence (TR) if they have certain STIs (sexually transmitted infections, previously known as STDs) that require long-term and costly treatments. More specifically, moving to Canada and immigration is harder if someone has HIV or chronic hepatitis B or C.

How does immigration know if someone has an STI?

When someone applies for PR in Canada, or plans on staying in Canada for longer than 6 months, they need to take a medical exam. If they have an STI that needs long-term and costly medications, like HIV or chronic hepatitis, it can make immigrating harder.

In the government’s words, they can reject an application if they see an “excessive demand on health or social services” or “medical inadmissibility“. This means they use the costs of treatments as grounds to deny the status of potential immigrants with HIV, and chronic Hep B or C, because they don’t want to pay for medications. “Excessive demand” means that officials think that the services needed to treat a condition would affect wait times for services in Canada.

It could also mean that treatment would cost more than the so-called “cost threshold”. The “cost threshold” for 2022 is $120,285 over 5 years and may be updated every year. This means that if someone needs a public health plan to pay more than this amount, their application is likely to be refused.

Can other STIs make moving to Canada harder?

Most other STIs won’t make it harder for someone to move to Canada. That’s because the drugs used to treat them are usually not costly enough to be an issue. This includes treatment for herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia and other STIs. It’s still better to treat any health problem, including STIs, as soon as possible!

Untreated syphilis can still be grounds for rejection. But as long as someone is getting proper treatment for syphilis, it probably won’t be. To avoid any issues, it’s recommended to get tested often and get any treatment you need!

Are there ways of moving to Canada with HIV and/or chronic hepatitis?

Yes. There are some ways to get around these laws. If you have HIV, chronic hepatitis, and/or another condition that requires costly treatments, you can still immigrate to Canada if

  • You can show you’ll pay for your own medical expenses or get private insurance.

  • You apply as a refugee or a protected person.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 have options! You can challenge a rejection. You’ll have to respond to the immigration or visa officer within 90 days to file your challenge or ask for more time. You may need to provide something called a mitigation plan. A mitigation plan explains how you plan to cover the cost of your healthcare when you’re in Canada.

A lawyer can help with the preparation of a mitigation plan. You can also contact our parent organization and we can help you connect with immigration lawyers and other resources!

How can I protect myself? Should I still have sex before immigration?

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. Regular STI testing can lower your risk even more. It’s also a good idea to talk about safer sex with your partners. By doing this, you make STIs like HIV and hepatitis a low risk while enjoying sex!

Are people with HIV or HCV discriminated against during immigration?

It is discriminatory to use someone’s needs for costly medications as grounds to reject their immigration application. But it’s important to know that the “medical inadmissibility” doesn’t only apply to people with HIV or HCV. A mitigation plan is also required from anyone living with a medical condition that requires costly treatments, like diabetes or cancers. So it’s part of the Canadian immigration requirements that affect anyone with a demand for costly medications, not just people living with HIV and/or HCV!

Discrimination against people living with chronic conditions and disabilities in the Canadian immigration process is an ongoing issue. You can learn more about it here. Check out the links below for more on moving to Canada and STIs!

More info


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