Are people with HIV/AIDS at greater risk than other people of infection
with novel H1N1 flu?
At the present time, we have no information about the risk of the novel H1N1
flu in people with HIV/AIDS. In the past, people with HIV/AIDS have not
appeared to be at any greater risk than the general population for infection
with routine seasonal influenza. However, HIV-infected adults and adolescents,
and especially persons with low CD4 cell counts or AIDS, can experience more
severe complications of seasonal influenza. It is therefore possible that
HIV-infected adults and adolescents are also at higher risk for complications
from infection with the H1N1 flu virus.
Ask any doctor if you should take antibiotics for the flu, and you’ll get a
weary shake of the head and a resounding no. “Viral infections like the
flu aren’t affected by antibiotics,” says William Schaffner, MD, chairman of
the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University’s School of
Medicine in Nashville. “You might as well take a placebo.”
Instead, antiviral medication can be used to treat the viral infections like
the flu. But that is a different type of medicine than antibiotics...
HIV-infected persons should maintain a healthy lifestyle; eat right, get
enough sleep, and reduce stress as much as possible. Staying healthy
reduces your risk of getting infected by influenza and other infections.
Staying health also helps your immune system fight off a flu infection should
If you are currently taking antiretrovirals or antimicrobial prophylaxis
against opportunistic infections you should adhere to your prescribed treatment
and follow the advice of your health care provider in order to maximize the
health of your immune system.
What are the signs and symptoms of H1N1 influenza?
Signs and symptoms of infection with the novel H1N1 influenza are generally
the same as for seasonal influenza: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy
nose, headache, body aches (muscle aches or joint pain), chills and fatigue.
Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with novel H1N1
What should people with HIV/AIDS do if they think they may have novel H1N1
HIV-infected people should do the same things as they would do for routine
seasonal flu – contact your health care provider and follow his or her
instructions. He or she will determine if laboratory testing or treatment is
If you are sick, stay home and keep away from others as much as
possible. This is to keep from making others sick. If you have
novel H1N1 flu, you should
stay at home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get
medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the
use of a fever-reducing medicine.)