Monkeypox and HIV

Current data suggest that about 40% of people diagnosed with monkeypox in the United States also had HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). CDC doesn’t know if having HIV increases the likelihood of getting sick with monkeypox if exposed to the virus. However, we do know that people with severe immunocompromise (like advanced HIV) are at increased risk of severe monkeypox, or even death, if they become infected. Learn more about how monkeypox spreads.

If you have HIV, you should follow the same recommendations as everyone else to protect yourself from monkeypox. Taking your HIV medication as prescribed and keeping an undetectable viral load are the best things you can do to stay healthy and doing so also prevents you from sexually transmitting HIV to your HIV-negative partner. Learn more about how to live well with HIV.

Monkeypox Vaccines and People with HIV

CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox virus and people who may be more likely to get monkeypox. Learn more about who should get vaccinated.

There are currently two vaccines (JYNNEOS and ACAM2000) that can be used to prevent monkeypox.

  • JYNNEOS vaccine is authorized for the prevention of monkeypox and is considered safe for people with HIV. This is the vaccine currently being offered in the United States.
  • CDC does not recommend the ACAM2000 vaccine for people with HIV due to the increased risk of serious side effects.

Talk to your health care provider to see if you should get vaccinated against monkeypox.

Getting Monkeypox When You Have HIV

  • Limited data suggest that people with HIV, particularly people with low CD4 counts (<350 cells/ml) or who are not virally suppressed, are more likely to be hospitalized if they get monkeypox than people without HIV.
  • Medicines used to treat smallpox are considered safe and may be used to treat people who are more likely to get severely ill with monkeypox. If you have HIV, ask your healthcare provider about what treatment options you should consider.
  • Based on what we know, monkeypox treatments have few interactions with HIV medicines. If you have HIV, let your health care provider know before starting monkeypox treatment.

Learn more about monkeypox treatment.

Monkeypox and HIV PrEP and HIV PEP

HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) are still effective for preventing HIV even if you have received the monkeypox vaccine, have monkeypox, or are taking monkeypox treatment.  If you have been prescribed HIV PrEP or HIV PEP by your health care provider, you should continue taking your medicine as prescribed.

You may have heard of monkeypox PrEP and PEP. This can be confusing because we use the terms PrEP and PEP in HIV prevention as well. Here’s how they are different:

  • HIV PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is medicine that reduces your chances of getting HIV.
  • When you get the monkeypox vaccine to reduce your chances of getting monkeypox in the future, this is sometimes called monkeypox vaccine PrEP.
  • HIV PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is medicine that can reduce your chances of getting HIV after a possible exposure.
  • When you get the monkeypox vaccine to reduce your chance of getting monkeypox because you were exposed or think you might have been exposed, this is sometimes called monkeypox vaccine PEP.