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HIV/AIDS & the Flu

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) can make your body too weak to fight off the flu. It also increases your risk for serious flu-related complications.

  • If you contract the flu it may take you longer than others to get better.
  • Get the flu vaccine. It is your best protection against the flu.
  • If you have HIV you should get the flu shot, not the nasal spray.
  • If you have flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately.

Why does having HIV put me at higher risk for getting the flu?

HIV kills or damages cells in the body’s immune system. The damage destroys your body’s ability to fight infection. You are at a higher risk of:

  • Prolonged illness
  • Serious flu-related complications
  • Heart- and lung-related hospitalizations
  • Flu-related death

How can I protect myself from getting the flu?

Getting the flu vaccine is the most effective way to prevent the flu. The nasal spray vaccine is not safe for people with HIV. You should get a flu shot. If you have advanced HIV, your immune system may not respond to vaccination. Your health care provider may prescribe antiviral medications as a preventive measure if you are or will be exposed to someone with the flu.

Because you are at an increased risk of getting pneumonia, talk to your health care provider about the pneumococcal vaccine. The pneumococcal vaccine will protect you against pneumonia.

In addition to getting vaccinated, follow our everyday steps to keep yourself healthy this flu season.

I think I have the flu. What should I do?

If you have any flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately. If you have the flu your health care provider can prescribe antiviral medication that can make your symptoms less severe and make you feel better faster. In addition, follow our treatment recommendations.

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HIV/AIDS and the Flu