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Yellow Fever Vaccination and Being HIV+
Jun 13, 2010

For starters, this question isn't really about the management of side effects of HIV treatment. However, I have been trying really hard to get this question answered.

I am going to West Africa in about three months. The two countries that I plan on visitng both require the Yellow Fever Vaccination. Not recommended, but required. I have a CD4 count which bounced between 550-750 during the past four years, never below 550, and even one time, I think it was 800, with an undetectable viral load. I have been positive for about 20 years. I have talked with probably close to 20 different "travel nurses" and most of them have me scared to death to get the Yellow Fever Vaccine. They are telling me things like, "you could develop Yellow Fever, your organs could shut down, you could have a brain hemorage", etc, etc, etc. One nurse felt that I would be just fine. I did also want to mention that I did have the Yellow Fever Vaccine back in 1994 and did not experience any difficulties with the vaccine. The one nurse who I spoke with that felt I would be fine with it explained to me how I already had some of the vaccine in my body, and that I would be just adding to it.

I am trying to get a professional opinion from an expert on this site. Do you think that I would be fine receiving another Yellow Fever Vaccine or may I be facing demise....????

Response from Dr. Henry

Yellow fever vaccination (live virus) is not generally recommended for use in immune compromised individuals. HIV+ persons with good immune function (CD4 count >> 200) generally do well with vaccination though not extensively studied. Our HIV clinic does provide yellow fever vaccine to HIV+ persons with good CD4 counts > 200-350. KH

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