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SHINGLES VACCINE
Jul 29, 2012

I have been on HART for 17 years; 16 years undetectable and 13 years of CD count of 400. I have been healthy. I am 50 years old. My nadir count was in the teens when I started HART. Would you reccomend me getting the shingles vaccine? I have not had chicken pox.

Response from Dr. McGowan

If you have not had chicken pox you are not at risk for developing shingles. Shingles, or Zoster, is reactivation of previously acquired varicella (which is the virus that causes Chicken pox). Varicella virus remains doormant (sleeping) inside of the nerve roots of the body and can wake up and cause shingles. This can happen in people with or without HIV, although it is more likely if you have HIV. So if you have never had chicken pox, you cannot develop shingles. Many people may have actuakky had chicken pox but they had a mild case and it might have been overlooked. To be sure, you should ask your Health Care Provider to send a blood test to see if you have ever had chicken pox (called a Varicella titer).

Best, Joe



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