Feature story

Influenza A(H1N1) and HIV infection

01 May 2009

Swine Influenza "Swine influenza"
Credit: C. S. Goldsmith and A. Balish, CDC

There are many questions concerning the potential impact of emerging influenza A(H1N1)* on people living with HIV, as they are more susceptible to opportunistic infections.

There is no documented information on clinical interactions between HIV and influenza A(H1N1) virus, whose transmission, incubation period and clinical manifestations have generally been similar to those of seasonal influenza viruses. Although there are inadequate data to predict the impact of a possible human influenza pandemic on people living with HIV, interactions between HIV and A(H1N1) influenza could be significant. Country preparedness plans for influenza should address the needs of people living with HIV, and national AIDS plans, especially in high HIV prevalence countries, should consider public health action required in case of pandemic influenza.

The World Health Organization has prepared a guidance note to assist countries and health workers in understanding the relevant risks and taking appropriate measures.

*As of 30 April 2009, WHO refers to the new influenza virus as influenza A(H1N1).

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