HIV/AIDS & Flu: What You Need To Know

woman with pills

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). HIV kills or damages cells in the body’s immune system, gradually destroying the body’s ability to fight infection and certain cancers. CDC estimated that 1.1 million people were living with HIV/AIDS in the United States in 2010.

People with HIV/AIDS are at high risk of serious influenza-related complications. Studies done before routine use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) suggested an increased risk for heart- and lung-related hospitalizations in people infected with HIV during influenza season as opposed to other times of the year, and a higher risk of influenza-related death in HIV-infected people. Other studies have indicated that influenza symptoms might be prolonged and the risk of influenza-related complications is higher for certain HIV-infected people. Vaccination with a flu shot has been shown to produce an immune response against influenza viruses in certain people infected with HIV.

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Because influenza can result in serious illness, HIV-infected persons are recommended for vaccination. To help you prepare for the flu this season, this fact sheet provides Questions & Answers to guide the administration of both flu shots and antiviral medications to people with HIV/AIDS.