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Shingles, magnetic couple, concerned for boyfriend
Sep 3, 2009

Dr. Bob,

Thank you for your help and for your advise. Your answers have been very helpful and comforting for me since I was diagnosed a year ago.

My question relates to shingles.

I am 45, 480 CD4, 36,000 v.l., not on medications yet. I think I have shingles (a very painful skin rash on my left abdomen). I am in Montreal, and will not be able to see a doctor before a few days. My concern is that in the meantime I may be contagious to my boyfriend (HIV-)who did not contract chickenpox as a child. Should I take any specific precautions?

Encore, merci pour votre aide et votre soutient.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Bonjour!

Je visiterai Montreal la semaine prochaine! J'adore cette ville pittoresque et amusante.

Your description of a one-sided painful rash is indeed consistent with shingles. Yes, it could be contagious to someone who is not already immune to the herpes zoster virus. Why can't you see a doctor sooner than several days from now? Your HIV specialist should agree to see you immediately. If not, what about an urgent care center or local emergency room? In the interim you should keep the affected areas covered and away from your boyfriend. There are medications available to decrease the severity and shorten the time course of the eruption for active shingles. There is also a vaccine available to protect those who don't already have immunity.

Il n'y a pas de quoi! A bientot!

Dr. Bob



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