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Cold And Flu
Nov 1, 2010

I recently read a question to a well-known doctor at another HIV site about colds and flu. The doc said people with HIV are no more likely to get colds or flu than HIV neg folks. He also said having HIV would not make a cold or flu worse than if you were neg. He explained this is due to colds and flu affecting a different part of the immune system or something like that.

So, I'm wondering why so many HIVers believe they get more colds and flu and/or are very scared to get them? And, why do health professionals really push the flu vaccine for us? Don't get me wrong, I get my vaccinations and believe in them. However, I was planning to get mine at my next appt next month, but they keep saying, "You better get it now. Getting the flu would be really bad for you."

So, what's the deal? Are we more prone to cold and flu than neg people? And, are we more likely to have problems if we do get sick? I remember with H1N1, it was people with really healthy immune systems who died with researchers believing their great immune system is what killed them.

Thank you very much for all you do!

Response from Dr. McGowan

Thank you for your timely question. People living with HIV are at increased risk from the complications of seasonal influenza infection and for this reason it is recommended that they receive an annual 'flu vaccination. The interplay between H1N1 influenza infection and HIV is not completely understood. Even so, it is a good idea that people living with HIV receive the H1N1 vaccine. Indeed, the current inactivated flu vaccine (which is the vaccine recommended in people living with HIV) in the US incorporates vaccination for both seasonal influenza and H1N1 influenza. Thanks Joe

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