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Author Topic: Should I get a Shingles Vaccine?  (Read 1153 times)

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Offline RobbyR

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  • Posts: 315
Should I get a Shingles Vaccine?
« on: January 28, 2013, 07:47:15 PM »
Just wondering if there is in fact a shingles vaccine, and if so, should I get it? I had a mild case of chicken pox as a child, and two years ago, out of the blue, I got extremely ill with what I thought was a bad ear infection or flu, but come to find out, after suffering for two weeks, and finally went to the ER, they told me I had shingles in my ear! I had been misdiagnosed by two doctors as having an ear infection! But I actually had been suffering from shingles! I had sores in my ear (hence why I thought it was an ear problem), and on my upper scalp and one on my face. Luckily, the ER doctor said I caught it in time and it was a fairly mild case of shingles, so I wasn't scarred or anything. I had a terribly high fever and felt just awful. I actually think I felt worse with shingles than I did when I had the flu a few years earlier! The ER doc gave me Acyclovir which made me feel much better. After being on it a few days, I felt fine again, although still pretty tired.

It was a bad experience, and took me a few weeks to recover. I still can't believe those idiot doctors didn't know the sores in my ear were actually shingles. Maybe because at that time the sores hadn't yet spread to my face or scalp, but seems like they should have considered the possibility. What I'm wondering is, can I get shingles again? Or once you get it, that's it? If I can get it again, should I ask for a vaccine, if there is one? My viral load is undetectable, but it was when I got shingles so I don't think my immune system had anything to do with me getting it before.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 07:49:57 PM by RobbyR »
Started Atripla August, 2010.

Offline tednlou2

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Re: Should I get a Shingles Vaccine?
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 10:34:17 PM »
There is a shingles vaccine.  I think I have read it offers about 50% protection.  And, I have read over at The Body (shhh) that the docs think it is perfectly safe for poz folks. 

We were out bowling over the weekend with family and friends for my partners's bday.  We were doing all the high fives.  Then, we learned his brother has an active case of shingles.  Obviously, he has a very mild case to feel up to bowling.  He pulled up his shirt to show the sores.  Of course, I had to immediately google a refresher to remind myself whether it is contagious or not. 

The info was as I thought.  There was some conflicting info.  Most sites said that it is not contagious, unless you've never had chicken pox.  In that case, you would get the chicken pox and not shingles.  But, some sites said people with compromised immune systems and pregnant women should be careful, especially if sores haven't stabbed over. 

Anyway, there is a vaccine. 

Offline Ann

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Re: Should I get a Shingles Vaccine?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2013, 07:41:32 AM »

What I'm wondering is, can I get shingles again?


Yes, you can get it again. (And again, and again, and again.)
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

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Offline Jmarksto

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  • Posts: 469
Re: Should I get a Shingles Vaccine?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 09:50:42 AM »
I talked to my doctor about getting the vaccine, although his comment was that it was only recommended (and insurance would only cover it) for those over 60 years of age.  He did say I could pay cash ($200) for it.

While I haven't had shingles yet, by what I have read I really don't want to get them either - so I think I am going to pay the $200 and get the vaccine.

Also - I find some contradictory info on whether pozies should get it.  My doc is more than willing to give it to me, although the CDC indicates that anyone with a compromised immune system shouldn't.

http://tinyurl.com/CDC-Shingles-Recs

03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Online mitch777

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Re: Should I get a Shingles Vaccine?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2013, 12:14:46 PM »
I asked my ID doc and he said no vaccine for me.
I also have read conflicting stories and would NOT like to experience shingles.
Is it that the likelyhood of getting shingles from the vaccine is far greater for us poz folks?
Am tempted to take the risk if the odds good.
hmmm.....
31 years hiv+ (oct. 2013) with a curtsy.

Offline wolfter

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Re: Should I get a Shingles Vaccine?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2013, 02:34:32 PM »
From the CDC; 

Who Should NOT Get the Vaccine

Some people should NOT get shingles vaccine.

1:  A person who has ever had a life-threatening or severe allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or any other component of shingles vaccine. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies.

2:  A person who has a weakened immune system because of
HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system.
 
3:  Treatment with drugs that affect the immune system, such as steroids,
cancer treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy.
 
4:  Cancer affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system, such as leukemia or lymphoma.

5:  Women who are or might be pregnant

productivity breeds content

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Should I get a Shingles Vaccine?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2013, 04:37:47 PM »
One thing I hate about the CDC is the lack of documentation.

Why is the shingles vaccine not recommended? And why, if it is not, is there controversy about that? What science is available that supports a positive person getting it? And under what circumstances?

CDC tends to aggregate information with a serious lack of footnoting. Thus, obsolete and even information later found to be incorrect tends to be tossed into the salad.

See: Open mouthed kissing and HIV, for example.
"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline weasel

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  • Posts: 1,645
Re: Should I get a Shingles Vaccine?
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2013, 04:19:52 PM »

    I had  shingles a few times in the early 80's

    Was not pleased   :o

    It has been  almost 30 since the last outbreak  . I hope I never get
them again , But I will NOT  get the vaccine  as my I.D. Doctor does not think
it is a good idea  .  Sounds Ok to me  . I'm thinking over 8 years on MEDS I am
doing good , no need to mess with my system .

                                                        Weasel

 P.S.   Shingles is annoying , but I guess i never had the painful type ?
        The little blisters bugged the shit out of me for weeks   :'(
" Live and let Live "

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Should I get a Shingles Vaccine?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2013, 04:58:34 PM »

2:  A person who has a weakened immune system because of
HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system.
 

But what if you immune system isn't (on paper) actually weak? Does this statement just apply to those patients with a cd4 count below a certain threshold? This is unclear to me.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Online mitch777

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Re: Should I get a Shingles Vaccine?
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2013, 05:10:15 PM »
But what if you immune system isn't (on paper) actually weak? Does this statement just apply to those patients with a cd4 count below a certain threshold? This is unclear to me.
that ^ is what I was wondering.
seems to me if your viral load is UD and your CD4 count is "reasonably" good (at what level??), one could prevent shingles.
31 years hiv+ (oct. 2013) with a curtsy.

Offline denb45

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Re: Should I get a Shingles Vaccine?
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2013, 05:20:10 PM »
It is my understanding that if you NEVER had chicken pox, then you won't need a Shingles Vaccine, @ least that's the way I always understood this, I've never had them before, hence no need for the vaccine, unless I'm wrong, and this is now outdated info  ???
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline wolfter

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  • Posts: 4,396
Re: Should I get a Shingles Vaccine?
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2013, 05:53:08 PM »
But what if you immune system isn't (on paper) actually weak? Does this statement just apply to those patients with a cd4 count below a certain threshold? This is unclear to me.

Without doing a bunch of research, I believe there are recommended thresholds.  I believe the following to be true.  It's not really recommended for anyone under 50, regardless of their HIV status.  There is debate amongst professionals if it should be 60.  It is recommended for HIV positive people over 50 (over 60 according to some) as LONG as their CD4's are over 200.

productivity breeds content

 


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