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HIV in Swaziland and travel health precautions

edited October 2010 in - Southern Africa
What precautions should I take when travelling to Swaziland, especially because it has the highest HIV and AIDS rates in Africa? Is the water safe to drink and should I have an HIV test when I get back Stateside? I'm going there on a tour for 10 days before travelling to other countries in Africa.


  • edited 10:36PM
    No one has been infected by sharing a drink with an HIV positive person. Water will not kill HIV, but that really isn't the issue here. HIV is just not spread by casual contact.

    There have been several studies that examine the risk of transmission through casual contact. Family members living with an HIV positive person in all of these studies did not become infected. Family members in these studies did not take special precautions to prevent infection and shared beds, clothes, toilets, toys, toothbrushes, food, and baby bottles
  • edited 10:36PM
    Good to know. Thanks for the advice. Do you know any travel tips about Swaziland as well as health advice? Is it a good country to travel to, are there any places that I should definitely go to or avoid?
    Thanks again.
  • edited 10:36PM

    I've lived here for 20 year in Swaziland - I'm married with two young kids and I can honestly say this is one of the safest places to be on the planet. Feel free to go anywhere and speak to anyone. Your chance of happening across someone with a criminal mindset is a lot less than most cities and countries in the developed world.

    The water here is fine - straight from the taps in any town or settlement.

    Visit for lots of info that can't be captured in a short comment here.
  • edited 10:36PM
    Thank you so much for replying Darron, it's a relief to know that I have one less worry on my list. All the travel books say that you should only drink bottled water, it's fascinating that you can drink it straight from the taps, you can't even do that in some first world countries.
    Thank you for the site recommendation as well. I'll go there now and take a look.
  • edited 10:36PM
    No worries Becca - the need for bottled water is really over-rated and we'd be happy to have a lot less empty bottles in our landfill sites.
  • edited 10:36PM
    My name is Zach and I am 12 years old. I am planning on walking with a group across Swaziland this December to raise awareness to the HIV problem. You seem to be very knowledgeable about Swaziland. I would like to distribute backpacks to kids along my route but have heard this could cause a problem. Do you have any advice on this matter? Also do you have any suggestions for items I should or should not give to the kids, Thank you!

    [email protected] Please feel free to email me .
  • edited 10:36PM
    Zach, your trip sounds interesting and I like your website.

    Personally I don't think that handing out backpacks is a bad thing, because they'll be great as school bags... and the dishing out of pens and exercise books has been done and redone to the point of fatigue. What is probably the most important thing is to have a local Swazi person to assist in managing the interactions... especially if there is a lot of excitement over the receipt of the backpacks.

    I'll drop you a direct mail so as to answer any other questions. Chrs
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