CDC Recommends Measles Vaccination for PLHIV
Born after 1956? You probably do not have immunity to measles.
Twenty-five years after we thought we had eradicated measles from the planet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there have been 704 cases of measles reported in twenty-two states since January 1, 2019.
Measles is a highly contagious and, for some adults, potentially life-threatening disease. There are no treatments and no cures for measles, but it can be prevented with a vaccine.
If you have HIV, getting the right vaccines can save your life. It is vital that you know your vaccination status and whether a measles vaccine is recommended for you. You should talk with your doctor about the MMR vaccine that can protect you against measles, mumps, and rubella. If you were born after 1956 and have not already gotten this vaccine, you should probably get the vaccine. The vaccine is safe if your CD4 count is 200 or greater. However, if your CD4 count is less than 200, the MMR vaccine is not recommended. That’s because it is a “live” vaccine, so it poses significant risk to severely immunocompromised individuals.
If you know you have already been exposed to measles and your CD4 count is less than 200, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) with immunoglobulin may be an option for you. PEP may provide protection against or lessen the severity of the measles if it occurs. If your CD4 count is 200 or greater, PEP can also include getting the MMR vaccine. PEP should be administered within seventy-two hours of the exposure to measles. In any case, as always, you should consult your physician to work out the best plan for you to avoid the measles.
For more information, check out the CDC’s “HIV Infection and Adult Vaccination” at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/health-conditions/hiv.html.
—Reporting by Hank Trout
Hank Trout, Editor at Large, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a forty-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his fiancé Rick. Follow him on Twitter @HankTroutWriter.