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2009 H1N1 Flu In The News

This website is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated. For updated information on the current flu season, see the CDC Seasonal Flu website.

December 1, 2009 1:00 PM ET

People Living With HIV Infection and 2009 H1N1

What does CDC know about people with HIV and 2009 HIN1?

People living with HIV infection, especially if they have AIDS or have low CD4 cell counts (sometimes called T-cell counts), can develop severe complications from influenza.

Should people living with HIV infection get vaccinated for 2009 H1N1?

People with HIV infection are an initial target group for the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine and should be vaccinated with the inactivated form of the vaccine (flu shot). The nasal spray vaccine (LAIV) should not be used for persons living with HIV infection. People with HIV infection should also receive the inactivated form of the seasonal flu vaccine. 

Can people living with HIV infection receive treatment (antivirals) for 2009 H1N1?

People with HIV infection who develop flu like symptoms should consult their health care provider right away to determine if they need treatment. Doctors should use their clinical judgment and consider early empiric treatment for HIV-infected persons with suspect influenza. In most cases, persons living with HIV do not need to be tested to see if they have influenza. See the following page, "Updated Interim Recommendations—HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents: Considerations for Clinicians Regarding 2009 H1N1 Influenza", for considerations for clinicians regarding 2009 H1N1 and HIV infected patients. 

Are there any interactions between antiviral treatment and the drugs used to treat HIV infection? 

There are no known drug interactions between oseltamivir or zanamivir, also known as antivirals, and the drugs used to treat HIV infection, called antiretrovirals. The drugs used to treat influenza are safe for persons receiving treatment for HIV infection. Specifically, if you are prescribed oseltamivir or zanamivir and think you might be having a reaction to the drug, contact your health care provider. 

What should people living with HIV do to protect themselves from the flu?

There are several ways that people with HIV infection can protect themselves from the flu.  Along with getting vaccinated, HIV-infected patients should take everyday precautions to protect themselves from the 2009 H1N1 flu:

  1. Wash your hands often (or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren't available)
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands – germs spread this way
  3. Avoid close contact with sick people

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a way that people with HIV infection can reduce the risk of getting infected by influenza and other infections. Eating right, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress as much as possible helps your immune system fight off a flu infection should it occur.

If you are living with HIV infection, you should continue to take the medications your doctor has prescribed for your HIV infection and follow the advice of your health care provider in order to maximize the health of your immune system. 

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