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Flu Shots
Sep 12, 2003

Do you think flu shots are worthwhile? Are they more recommended for people who have low T-cells or are not currently on therapy? Should someone on HAART, who is undetectable and has more thatn 600 T-cells still take a flu shot??? And finally can you tell me if there ANY downside at all for someone with HIV getting a flu shot?

Response from Dr. Conway


This clearly prevents a serious infection, a good thing for your personal health. Also, it is possible that a serious intercurrent infection such as influenza may act as a stimulant of the immune system and accelerate HIV disease progression itself.

The only potential downside of the flu shot is that it may lead to a temporary increase in the viral load. This has only been shown to be for a few weeks at most, does not lead to a long-term effect on disease progression and does not apply to people who are currently on effective HAART. Theoretically, for people who are on HAART that is no longer working, an increase in viral load may lead to the development of more drug resistance, but I am not aware of any solid information on this issue.


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