Rio 2016: How To Handle Zika, HIV and Emergencies at the Olympic Summer Games

Rio 2016: How To Handle Zika, HIV and Emergencies at the Olympic Summer Games

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So you’ve already read our Gay Guide to the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games, and you’re all packed, know the best hotspots to hit up and are ready to dive in, party and get your sports on, but there’s still some things you should consider to ensure a happy, healthy stay. Here’s a helpful mini-guide just in case!


The mosquito-borne virus can cause birth-defects as well as mild fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes; others may remain asymptomatic.

In addition to following CDC Precautionary Guidelines, you should bring mosquito repellant containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or para-menthane-diol; you can also purchase permethrin-treated clothing to ward off mosquitoes. Sleeping in screened and air-conditioned rooms is a good idea too.

A doctor can test you for Zika upon return. If you’re unsure whether you have the virus, use condoms for at least six months until you are tested to avoid transmitting it to others.


Many gay bars and local clinics offer free condoms. Though there are many pharmacies throughout the city, Drogaria Pacheco has convenient locations in Copacabana and Ipanema. While pharmacies may carry the morning after pill, anti-retroviral treatments and other HIV/AIDS medications, Pre-Exposure Prophylactics (PrEP) may be difficult to obtain as they have not yet been approved by Brazil’s Ministry of Health. Ideally, you should replenish any prescriptions before leaving your home country.


Clinica Galdino Campos (located at Av. NS Copacabana 492 in Copacabana) offers multi-lingual physicians, outpatient calls and works with most international health and travel insurance plans.

If you need an ambulance or police officer, remember that most service operators speak Portuguese. For an ambulance, dial 192; for police, dial 190 and for robberies, dial tourist police at 2332-4924 (but don’t expect the tourist police to hunt down your property, they usually just file a report and give you the paperwork if you need it for insurance reasons).

If you get into serious trouble, hit up the U.S. Embassy in Rio; they’re the go to if you lose your passport, are arrested, seriously injured, victimized by a crime or need a personal contact to send funds from home. You can find the U.S. Embassy at Av. Pres. Wilson, 147 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20030-020, Brazil or call at (55-21) 3823-2000.

(featured image via Higor de Padua Vieira Neto)

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