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Super Infection
Aug 15, 2008

Hi Dr. McGovern:

How would one determine if they have a super infection (HIV) or maybe Pneumonia? I had a pneumonia shot last year. Am I protected all around from getting pneumonia? Do I need o pneumonia shot every year?

Response from Dr. McGovern

In the future, please address your HIV questions to the HIV forum since there are many more providers working on that site.

Superinfection refers to a specific issue: If an HIV infected person gets exposed to another person's HIV virus (for example through unprotected sex or injection drug use) and the second virus infects that person - we refer to this as superinfection. This is a concerning event because the viruses can recombine into a more potent virus that may cause more decline in the immune system.

Blood tests for antibodies to pneumococcal antigens are never performed in the clinic to determine if someone has had their pneumonia shot. These kinds of tests are only performed in the research setting. Ask your nurse to check the immunization records to see if you are due for a shot.

Some pneumonia shots (eg, influenza) are given yearly. Others (eg, pneumococcal vaccine or pneumovax) are given less often.



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