Vaccinations for People with HIV (EN) Vaccinations for People with HIV (EN)
Research shows that some diseases occur more commonly in or are more likely to affect people with HIV. That is why we sometimes advise people infected with HIV to get certain vaccinations. These vaccinations are listed in this leaflet. Talk to your doctor or nursing specialist at the HIV treatment centre about which vaccinations are important for you.
Pneumococcal disease (streptococcus pneumoniae)
People with HIV are at a greater risk of pneumonia with pneumococcal bacteria. We recommend a vaccination against pneumococcal bacteria for everyone with HIV. Especially if you have had pneumonia before, have COPD or inject your drugs. A full vaccination against pneumococcal bacteria consists of two doses. You will receive the second dose after two months. You should repeat the vaccination every five years. You should get a vaccination if your CD4 cell count is greater than 200. Ask the HIV treatment centre how you can get this vaccination.
A flu infection (influenza virus) can affect people with HIV more severely. This is why we recommend annual vaccination against the flu. You will get an invitation for this from your GP. It is important, however, to assess whether you need the flu shot every year. Your CD4 cell count should be above 100 and preferably above 200.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. The most common forms are hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Employees at the HIV treatment centre can tell you whether you should get a vaccination.
You can become infected with the hepatitis A virus through food or drink contaminated with faeces containing the virus. The virus can also spread through sexual contact, usually anal sex. Infection can cause symptoms of illness that last several months, including jaundice, fatigue, nausea and fever.
You can get vaccinated against hepatitis A at the GGD or your GP. A full vaccination against hepatitis A consists of two doses. The first dose provides protection for one year. The second dose is given after at least six months and gives you protection for at least 30 years.
The hepatitis B virus is found in blood, semen, precum and vaginal fluid. The virus is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact and sexual contact. If you have never had hepatitis B or have not yet been vaccinated, you can get vaccinated against this virus at the GGD or your GP. A full hepatitis B vaccination consists of three doses spread over six months. Have a checkup a month after the last dose to see whether the vaccination has done its job properly because your immune system is weakened. Your blood will be tested to see how many antibodies your body has produced. The vaccination is a good idea if your CD4 cell count is above 350 and the viral load is not detectable.
The hepatitis C virus is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact and sexual contact that probably involves the release of blood. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. However, the virus is treatable.
Chickenpox (varicella zoster)
People with HIV who have never had chickenpox before may have a more severe initial infection with the chickenpox virus. If you come from an area where chickenpox is not common, such as Africa, then a vaccination against chickenpox may be beneficial. Your CD4 cell count should be above 200 and the viral load not detectable. The vaccination consists of two doses. You will receive the second dose after four to eight weeks.
Employees at the HIV treatment centre can tell you whether you should get a vaccination.
Shingles (varicella zoster)
Shingles is caused by the same virus as chickenpox. The virus becomes re-activated in your body because of your weakened immune system. People with HIV have a higher risk of contracting shingles. Especially people over 50 and people who have had shingles before. We, therefore, advise you to get vaccinated against shingles. This also applies to people who have a low CD4 cell count (below 200) or often have a detectable HIV viral load. A shingles vaccination is recommended for everybody with HIV. A full vaccination consists of two doses. You will get the second dose after two months. You can ask the employees at the HIV treatment centre for more information.
A vaccination is usually free of charge. However, sometimes there are costs involved. Contact your health insurer if you have questions about your situation.
Travelling or on holiday?
If you have HIV and are travelling or going on holiday, get advice on the vaccinations needed for the country you are going to. There are special organisations who can help you, such as the GGD.
If you have any questions, you can call the location where you are being treated.
(088) 624 3350 (available on workdays from 8:30 to 17:00).