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What Adults with HIV Infection Should Know About the Novel H1N1 Flu (formerly called swine flu)

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If you need to go to a doctor’s office, to an emergency room, or to any other healthcare facility to be evaluated, cover your mouth and nose with a facemask if a facemask is available and tolerable, or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.  Let the office staff know you are there because you think you might have novel H1N1 flu.

For more information on what to do if you are sick see:

Is there a vaccine against this the H1N1 flu virus?

No. There is currently no vaccine for the novel H1N1 flu. The vaccine given for seasonal flu does not protect against the novel H1N1 flu. If a vaccine against novel H1N1 flu becomes available, CDC will make recommendations for people with HIV/AIDS. Researchers are presently working to develop a vaccination against novel H1N1 flu.

Is there treatment against novel H1N1 flu for people with HIV/AIDS?

Yes. The novel H1N1 flu virus is sensitive to two antiviral drugs: zanamivir and oseltamivir.  HIV-infected adults and adolescents who meet current case-definitions for confirmed, probable or suspected infection with novel H1N1 flu should receive antiviral treatment.  Treatment is most effective if started within 48 hours of symptom onset.  Please check the CDC website frequently for updates in recommendations for antiviral treatment.

See additional information on treatment of novel H1N1 flu.

When should people with HIV/AIDS be prescribed antiviral medications for the prevention (also called "chemoprophylaxis") of novel H1N1 flu?

HIV-infected adults and adolescents who are close contacts of persons with novel H1N1 flu should receive antiviral chemoprophylaxis. Please check the CDC website frequently for updates in recommendations for antiviral chemoprophylaxis.

Are the medicines used to treat and prevent infection with the novel H1N1 flu virus safe for people with HIV/AIDS?

There is not a lot of information on the interaction between anti-flu medications and HIV antiretrovirals. No adverse effects have been reported among HIV-infected adults and adolescents who received oseltamivir or zanamivir.  There are no known major drug interactions between oseltamivir or zanamivir with currently available antiretroviral medications used to treat HIV infection.  If you are prescribed oseltamivir or zanamivir and think you might be having a reaction to the drug, contact your health care provider. Healthcare providers should observe patients for possible adverse drug reactions to anti-influenza agents, especially patients with neurologic problems or decreased kidney function.

How else should people with HIV/AIDS prepare?

Stay informed. Health officials will provide additional information as it becomes available on the CDC website.

WebMD Public Information from the CDC

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