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To get a flu shot or not
Feb 19, 2007

Is a flu vacine shot worthwhile or not. Could it be dangerous or just futile. My last cd4 count 6 months ago was 49.

Response from Dr. Sherer

Flu shots are useful, even for people like you with low CD4 cells. They are more useful at the start of the flu season, i.e. October, than in February, but they are potentially useful at any time.

Flu shots are recommended for all people with HIV infection, regardless of their CD4 cells. There is no danger to you from the vaccine, other than the side effect of a sore arm. Although people with low CD4 cells may develop a less robust immune response, or none at all, the attempt would not be 'futile', and even a reduced response may change a serious 2 week influenza infection into a mild 2 day 'cold'. Vaccinations may cause a transient small increase in the viral load which returns to baseline shortly thereafter.

Bottom line: flu shots are a good idea for people with HIV.


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