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!
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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