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Flu shot or not?
Oct 19, 2004

Hi.

First, thanks for volunteering your time to answer questions here. I am among the many who really appreciate it.

I've been poz for 6 years, on Trizivir for 5, and my lab results are pretty much like those of a normal person (VL < 50, t-cells 1200, CD4:CD8 ratio is 1.6 and everything is stable).

Because of the flu vaccine shortage, health officials are asking people who are not at risk to forego getting flu shots. In the past, my doctor has recommended I get them. Since my immune system is not yet compromised, should I skip the shot this year?

Thanks again for your help and great work.

Response from Dr. Conway

A interesting question. I am fairly confident that you could safekly skip the vaccine unless you are around others who are unwell (i.e. peopel with advanced AIDS, cancer or who are otherwise at increased risk of getting the flu. In addition, if you work in the health care industry or fall into another category of people who should get the vaccine even if you did not have HIV infection, you should go ahead and get it. I would also say that, if there is any extra flu vaccine hanging around after the highest risk individuals have gotten it, you should be at the front of the line to get it.

If none of the above apply to you, it may be reasonable for you to skip getting the vaccine, at least for this year. If you get the flu though, you need to see your doctor immediately and consider treatment for it.



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