An LGBTI-friendly insurance company in the UK has today launched a new travel insurance policy. Anyone with HIV does not need to disclose it as a pre-existing medical condition. This is provided they are on stable anti-viral medication and have an undetectable viral load.
Doctors widely agrees that HIV positive individuals with an undetectable viral load can expect a normal lifespan provided they adhere to treatment.
However, until now, the insurance world has been slow to reflect changes in attitudes toward HIV.
‘The insurance industry and the UK as a whole need to wake up’
Steve Wardlaw, Chairman of Emerald Life, said ‘Emerald is very proud to introduce this revolutionary, game-changing travel insurance. The insurance industry and the UK as a whole need to wake up and become more familiar with the recent advances in HIV treatment.
‘People living with HIV can suffer high levels of alienation that can stop them from taking basic precautions like travel insurance when they go abroad. Everyone should be able to insure themselves with a respectful customer journey, without fear of stigma or discrimination.’
The Terrence Higgins Trust, the largest sexual health charity in the UK, welcome the move. Its CEO, Ian Green, said ‘People who are living with HIV and who are on effective medication can expect to live lives that are as long and healthy as anyone else. Therefore, there should be zero need for an individual with an undetectable viral load to disclose their status when taking out travel insurance.’
Matthew Hodson, Chief Executive of HIV information service NAM, told GSN, also welcomed the move. ‘It will allow people with HIV to travel, for business and pleasure, with the same security as others.
‘So far, not all parts of the insurance industry recognise how far we have come in our ability to treat HIV effectively. With prompt diagnosis and treatment, our life expectancy is unchanged. People living with this virus should not be penalised as a result of out of date perceptions of HIV.’
Emerald Life launched in 2016. Since its inception, it has not increased in travel insurance premiums for people with HIV, irrespective of their health. However, it is now removing the needs for people with HIV to declare it as a pre-existing medical condition.