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Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library HIV: Preventing Other Infections When You Have HIV

HIV: Preventing Other Infections When You Have HIV

Topic Overview

A person who has HIV has difficulty fighting off other infections. You can help protect the person from infections.

  • Avoid close contact with people who have contagious illnesses until their symptoms have disappeared. This includes illnesses such as colds, the flu, or stomach flu.
  • If you have a cold or flu, wear a surgical-type mask and wash your hands before approaching or touching the person with HIV.
  • Get an annual flu vaccine to reduce the chance of getting the flu and infecting others.
  • If you have skin infections such as boils, cold sores or fever blisters (herpes simplex), or shingles (herpes zoster), avoid close contact with the person who has HIV.
  • Ask your doctor whether you should have any boosters or shots for measles, mumps, or rubella, because these shots may not have been available when you were a child.
  • Get the special form of polio shot known as "Salk" or "inactivated virus" vaccine if you need a polio shot. Do not use the oral "Sabin" form of the vaccine.
  • If you are in the recommended age range, get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
  • Contact the doctor of the person who has HIV within 24 hours if the person has not had:
    • A measles vaccine and he or she is exposed to measles. A medicine is available that, if given promptly, may help prevent measles.
    • Chickenpox and he or she is exposed to chickenpox or shingles. Chickenpox can make a person with HIV very sick. For more information, see the topic Chickenpox (Varicella) or Shingles.
  • Learn how to handle food properly. This can help prevent a food-borne infection. For more information, see the topic Food Poisoning and Safe Food Handling.
  • Avoid having a person who has HIV clean pet litter or pet living areas, such as cages and tanks.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

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HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Infection

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