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chicken pox vaccine
Aug 2, 2004

Our daughter was born HIV pos. Been on meds since birth. Now 2 years 9 months old. CD4 2200 at 39percent. VL undetectable. Our HIV specialist says it is safe to give our daughter the chickenpox vaccine. I have read several horror stories about the vaccine and several good things about giving the vaccine. Can you please give your opinions on this matter.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Well there is some controversy here. The CDC lists, among those who should not receive chickenpox vaccine, persons who have a disease that depresses cellular immune function. However, it adds the caveat that children with HIV who have normal immune function may receive the vaccine.

There is no doubt that HIV can depress cellular immune function; consequently, I would make sure you have the input of a pediatric HIV specialist (or pediatric immunologist) who can help thoroughly evaluate your child's cellular immune integrity. If it is indeed "normal," then the risk/benefit ratio would tip in the balance of giving the immunization. If not, I'd hold off.

Good luck!

Dr. Bob



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