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Influenza A, H1N1
Jul 21, 2009

Hi Dr.,

I am HIV+ and have been on meds for 2 years now. Numbers in the good range with an un-detactable viral load.

With the 'new' flu going on, what preventive measures must one do to minimize the chance of oneself from catching it? And should one have caught it, what can one take (meds, etc) and what should one do?

Honestly, I live in the dark, so I would really like not want to be labelled, "the first HIV+ person with the Swine Flu".

Thank you. Tyra

Response from Dr. McGowan

Tyra,

Thanks for your question. Don't worry, you would not be the first HIV+ person with swine flu. There have been many. Like with "regular" flu, the best way to avoid it is to wash hands frequently, especially after touching surfaces and doorknobs, etc in public places. Much transmission is from your hand to your mouth-nose. If someone has the flu, you may be exposed if they are coughing and you get close to them (within 3-6 feet). Most cases so far have been relatively mild. Things may change so it is best to be prepared. When the vaccine is available it would be a good idea to get it. The current strain can be treated with tamiflu (oseltamivir), which should be reserved for those with low CD4 counts or other underlying conditions (such as chronic heart or lung disease) that may put them at higher risk for complications and more severe illness.

Best, Joe



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