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Flu vaccine and HIV

Man after a flu jab

A vaccine can help people living with HIV to avoid the possibly harmful effects of seasonal flu. Don’t forget your flu jab this autumn.

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Should I have the flu vaccine if I have HIV?

Yes. People living with HIV are considered to be an at-risk group and are eligible for a free annual flu vaccination.

The influenza vaccine (flu jab) protects against different strains of flu. Unlike a cold, flu can have serious symptoms such as fever and painful limbs. It can lead to complications - especially in at-risk groups. These can include chest infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

Where can I get it?

You can get a flu jab through your GP and some pharmacies - the vaccination is usually available from October. You will need to get one every year.

Who is the flu jab for?

As well as people living with HIV, the following groups are eligible for the flu jab:

  • people aged 65 and over
  • pregnant women
  • those with a serious medical condition (especially chronic heart or respiratory problems)
  • people who are very overweight
  • people who are living with you may be eligible for the flu jab if you are HIV positive and have a low CD4 count
  • people living in residential care
  • the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer is ill
  • frontline health or social care workers.

Pneumococcal vaccination

People with HIV are also recommended to have a pneumococcal vaccination (known as a ‘pneumo jab’). This will protect you against infections such as pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia.

You may only need one vaccination or it might need to be repeated after five years. You will be able to get the vaccination from your GP, so you could have it at the same time as your flu jab.

If your GP doesn’t know about your HIV status please speak to someone at your HIV clinic about where to get vaccinated.

Over 50 and living with HIV?

The Health Wealth and Happiness Project supports the financial, emotional and physical wellbeing of over 50s living with HIV in Brighton, Bristol, London, Manchester and the West Midlands.

Find out more about seeing a doctor ››



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The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 5/10/2015 by Anna Peters

Date due for the next review: 1/9/2018

Content Author: Kerri Virani

Current Owner: Kerri Virani

More information:

Flu jab, NHS Choices, February 2015

Complications of flu, NHS Choices, April 2015

Symptoms of flu, NHS Choices, April 2015

The flu jab, NHS Choices, April 2014

Pneumococcal vaccine, NHS Choices, March 2014

Flu jab FAQs, NHS Choices, February 2015

HIV and AIDS -- causes, NHS Choices, September 2014

Living with HIV, NHS Choices, September 2014

Pneumococcal disease, NAM aidsmap, Greta Hughson, Michael Carter, October 2013

Influenza (‘flu’), NAM aidsmap, Greta Hughson, Selina Corkery, October 2013