September 2013    Reprinted from

Key Points

  • Vaccines are products designed to protect people from disease, for example, chicken pox, flu, and polio. Vaccines are given by needle injections, by mouth, or by aerosol sprays. The process of getting a vaccine is called vaccination or immunization.
  • There is no vaccine to prevent or cure HIV, but people with HIV can benefit from vaccines against other diseases. The following vaccines are recommended for all people with HIV: hepatitis B; influenza (flu); human papillomavirus (HPV) (for those up to age 26); pneumococcal (pneumonia); and tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (a single vaccine that protects against the three diseases). Every 10 years, a repeat vaccine against tetanus and diphtheria is also recommended. Other vaccines may be recommended for some people with HIV.
  • In general, people with HIV should not get live, attenuated vaccines unless the benefit outweighs the risk.
  • Because HIV medicines strengthen the immune system and reduce HIV viral load, whenever possible people with HIV may want to start antiretroviral therapy (ART) before getting immunizations.

For the full publication from AIDSinfo, go to this page.