A project of the New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center. Partially funded by the National Library of Medicine
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Fact Sheet Number 207
VACCINATIONS AND HIV
WHAT ARE VACCINATIONS?
that build up your body’s
defenses against certain infections. For
example, many people get flu shots each
fall. It can take a few weeks for your
respond after a
Most vaccines are used
infections. However, others help your body
fight an infection that you already have.
These are called “therapeutic vaccines.”
See fact sheet 480 for more information on
therapeutic vaccines and HIV.
“Live” vaccines use a weakened form of the
germ. They can give you a mild case of
disease, but then your immune system kicks
in to protect you against a severe case.
Other “inactivated” vaccines don’t use a
living germ. You don’t get the disease, but
your body can still build up its defenses.
Vaccines can have side effects. With live
vaccines, you might get a mild case of the
disease. With inactivated vaccines, you
could have pain, redness, and swelling
where you got the shot. You might also
briefly feel weakness, fatigue, or nausea.
PEOPLE WITH HIV?
If HIV has damaged the immune system, it
might not respond as well to a vaccine, or
for the same length of time. Also, vaccines
might cause more side effects in people with
HIV. They might even cause the disease
they are designed to prevent.
There has not been much research on
vaccines and people with HIV, especially
since people started using combinations of
antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). However, there
are a few key guidelines for people with HIV:
• Vaccinations can increase the viral load
(see fact sheet 125) for a little while. On the
other hand, getting sick with the flu,