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shingles again
May 9, 1999

How contagious is shingles to a person who has HIV? Is it true someone with HIV should avoid even social contact with a person who has shingles (but not HIV)?

Response from Dr. Currier

If you have previously had chicken pox ( shingles is caused by the same virus called Herpes Zoster) you cannot get it from someone else. Only people who have never had Herpes zoster are suseptible. You need to have direct contact with the fluid in one of the sores to get it. When people have shingles in more than one area of the body they may be able to spread it by respiratory secretions, and then again it is only people who have never had it who are at risk. People with HIV and no prior history of chicken pox need to be very careful to avoid exposure. Hope this helps.

-JC


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