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No More Lollipops'Well Maybe

No More Lollipops'Well Maybe


In addition to several clinical tests, patients with HIV disease should receive booster shots or new vaccines for immunizations they are missing, says Tom Barrett, MD, a staff physician at Chicago's Howard Brown Health Center. Because HIV-positive people may be more prone to certain infections or experience more severe symptoms of others, 'one of the first things we do is make sure immunizations are up-to-date,' Barrett notes. Among these are: ' Hepatitis A and B. Given immediately. ' Tetanus. If the previous booster was given more than 10 years ago. ' Flu shots. Given each year in the fall. Although there is no hard data, some doctors worry that immunocompromised patients may be at a higher risk for severe complications from the flu, such as pneumonia. Flu vaccines are recommended for most HIVers. ' Pneumococcal vaccine to prevent bacterial pneumonia. Given each year in the fall. Daar says all HIV-positive people, not just those with low CD4-cell counts, are at a higher risk for this illness. Some studies suggest the risk is boosted by as much as 100 times. ' Chicken pox. Some doctors choose to vaccinate their patients with high CD4-cell counts against chicken pox because the disease can be much worse and more aggressive in HIV-positive people, says Barrett. On the flip side, vaccines that should not be given to HIVers include those that use a weakened form of a virus to convey immunity to the disease, including measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and smallpox.

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