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Hepatitis and HIV CoinfectionHepatitis and HIV Coinfection
           
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Benefits of HVC Therapy
Jan 11, 2009

Here's a strange question for you .... When I asked my Heptologist about getting a flu shot (I'm geno. 2b HIV coinfect. -undetectable, on Peg. Interferon/800 ribavirin, cleared at wk 12 test). He laughed and said "since you're on intereferon, you don't need the vaccine, get it next year though, when you're on this much interferon you can't get the flu" Are there any side advantages of taking interferon or ribavirin ... are there any (pleasant) surprises to offset all the terrible side effects??

Response from Dr. McGovern

I agree with your hepatologist, in theory, that you probably won't get the flu since interferon itself is a strong general antiviral medication. However, I don't know of any recommendation that states that you don't need the flu vaccine during interferon therapy. There is also no "down side" to getting a flu vaccine, since it is associated with few side effects.

Another "side advantage" is that interferon can lead to a decline in HIV RNA. I have had patients with low level viremia whose levels became undetectable on interferon treatment. This is a well known effect of interferon.

As you can see, interferon is a good antiviral medication.



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