Are HIV+ persons barred from migrating to Canada, Australia or UAE?


There have been arguments on the X app after a post, warning against the harms of the HIV disease, stated that being positive could prevent one from emigrating to countries like Canada, Australia or the United Arab Emirates.

An X (formerly Twitter) user with the handle @YarKafanchan (Ndi Kato – Mama Lawyer) published the now deleted, screenshot below, on November 4, 2023.

Her post read: “HIV is a very costly disease. One thing no one tells you is how limiting it is. For example, if you have HIV you can’t japa to Canada or Australia or even the UAE (UAE doesn’t even want you as a visitor); their doors are shut against you. Be very careful out there. Use protection.”

She explained further that these countries are seeking to avoid overburdening their healthcare system, hence the need to allegedly reject HIV positive persons.

Screenshot showing reactions on the viral X post before it was deleted.

The issue in discourse elicited several arguments and counter-arguments from multiple online users.

The tweet reached thousands of people and garnered hundreds of likes and retweets before it was deleted.


What Is HIV?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks cells that help the body fight infection, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. It is spread by contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV, most commonly during unprotected sex (sex without a condom or HIV medicine to prevent or treat HIV), or through sharing injection drug equipment. If left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Anyone living with HIV are often referred to as HIV positive (HIV+) patient or carrier.



HIV positive persons will not be allowed to emigrate to Canada, Australia or the United Arab Emirates.

Screenshot showing the now-deleted viral X post by Ndi Kato – Mama Lawyer.



CLAIM 1: Are HIV positive people barred from emigrating to Canada?

According to the official website for Canada (, one is required to undergo medical examinations before emigration and also provide any medical reports or test results that you have for any previous or existing medical conditions. The website however discloses that one will not be deemed medically inadmissible if they do not meet the following criteria:

  • Danger to public health
  • Danger to public safety.
  • Excessive demand on health or social services

The last of these criteria was the primary reason for denial of HIV positive persons entry in the past but a public policy by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which took effect on June 1, 2018, effectively raised the excessive demand cost threshold (that is, the maximum cost one’s condition could place on Canada’s health and social services) to three times the national average thereby raising the bar which currently stands at $128,445 over 5 years (or $25,689 per year) as seen here.

This means that HIV positive persons whose estimated cost of treatment was about $15,000 in 2018, according to a publication on the National Library of Medicine website with no recorded significant increase in cost since then falls under the excessive demand cost threshold and is not medically inadmissible to Canada.

Furthermore, under the heading ‘Procedure for applicants who test positive for HIV,’ the website states,  “HIV positivity does not make a client inadmissible due to public health concern. In some cases, it may lead to inadmissibility if their healthcare costs would exceed the excessive demand threshold.”


The claim that HIV positive persons are barred from emigrating to Canada is MOSTLY FALSE, except in cases where their healthcare costs exceed the excessive demand cost threshold of $25,689 per year.


CLAIM 2: Are HIV positive people barred from emigrating to Australia?

The official website of the Australian government’s Department of Home Affairs states that HIV tests are required for persons over 15 years old seeking permanent visas.

It also stated that, “We will not grant you a visa if you do not meet the health requirement because your condition is likely to be a significant cost, unless a health waiver is available and exercised. We regard costs of AUD 51,000 or more to be significant.”

This figure usually covers a period of about 5 years, hence the average amount per year would be at least AUD 10,200.

Meanwhile, according to the Australian government’s Department of Health and Aged Care, treating HIV could cost more than AUD 8,500 per year but with a concession card it will cost AUD 6.60, both figures are below the AUD 10,200 cost mark.

While this is the stipulated limit, Australia provides for the opportunity for a health waiver which takes into considerations one’s ability to lessen the cost of treatment on public healthcare services and also certain compassionate or compelling situations relating to your health condition.


The claim that people living with HIV are barred from emigrating to Australia is MOSTLY FALSE.


CLAIM 3: Are HIV+ persons barred from emigrating to UAE?

The official website of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), categorically states that granting visas for residency or work is dependent on one being free from HIV and other diseases or conditions like hepatitis and tuberculosis.


The claim that people living with HIV are barred from emigrating to the UAE is TRUE.


* This fact-check was written by Amadin Ogbewe, a fellow of the ICIR’s Countering Misinformation and Promoting Media Literacy project, supported by the German Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria.

Amadin Ogbewe
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