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influenza vaccine?
Jan 9, 2001

I am a nurse working with recovering substance abusers in a residential setting. Some are hiv +. should i offer flu vaccination to people with aids/hiv+ ? i saw a recent (Dec2000) article that seems to indicate that there are not as many adverse effects as once was thought. any thoughts on this?

Response from Dr. Feinberg

The official US Public Health Service advice is to vaccinate all HIV+s. Personally, I don't agree with this, as there are no substantial data that I am aware of that indicate that influenza is either more common or more serious in HIV+s, and vaccination drives up HIV viral load (although most people recover to their pre-vaccine baseline within 1-2 months). I only recommend vaccination to my HIV+ patients who work in healthcare settings, have chronic heart or lung disease, are elderly, or who have very advanced disease, and I agree to vaccination of other patients who desire it. I do not think that the adverse reaction rate to the vaccine is higher among HIV+s, and do not think that is a reason to avoid vaccination if that is otherwise desirable.


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