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Varicella (chicken Pox) Vaccination
Nov 3, 2004

Dear Dr. Henry,

Thank you very much for your reply on the topic "just started treatment and very concerned". I have anoher question for you, my cousin (HIV+) who just started her treatment 2 weeks ago with combivir and Sustiva, is asking me about her getting a chicken pox vaccination. She is 34 years old now and she never had a chicken pox before. Is it safe for her to get a varicella vaccination since it is a live vaccine? her latest bld. works pre-treatment was CD4 441 and viral load 5,000. She wanted to get pregnant so her Dr. put her on combo in preperation for her pregnancy. I don't know what to tell her. Maybe you could help me find an answer to her question. Thank you again for your support. God Bless you!

worried cousin

Response from Dr. Henry

HIV+ adults who are not significantly immune suppressed (such as your cousin with a good CD4 count and now on treatment with a low HIV level) can be safely vaccinated with the herpes zoster vaccine. I don't recommend use of Sustiva if a women is planning or hoping to get pregnant (due to concern about fetal abnormalities)--I use alternative drugs (which ones depend on the individual situation). KH



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