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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.


Is the flu jab safe?

Yes, the flu jab is safe to have if you're living with HIV - in fact, it will reduce your chance of getting ill with flu over the winter months.


Will the flu jab interact with my HIV medication?

No. The flu jab does not interact with any HIV medications and is safe to have whatever HIV treatment you're taking.


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)
  • children aged 2-8 years old
  • those who are immunocompromised for any reason
  • frontline health or social care workers.

Should I also get the 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 11/10/2017 by Anna Peters

Date due for the next review: 11/10/2020

Content Author: Kerri Virani

Current Owner: Kerri Virani

More information:

Annual flu programme
gov.uk
September 2017

Flu jab
NHS Choices
July 2017

Complications of flu
NHS Choices
April 2015

Symptoms of flu
NHS Choices
April 2015

Pneumococcal vaccine
NHS Choices
February 2016

Living with HIV
NHS Choices
July 2017

Pneumococcal disease
NAM aidsmap
Greta Hughson, Michael Carter
October 2013

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