Health Alert – time to get a flu shot

Getting a flu shot is good advice for pretty much anyone. Even more so if you’re HIV positive.

For patients with HIV, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting the flu shot instead of the live attenuated flu vaccine or “FluMist.” The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine (containing a killed virus) that’s given with a needle. FluMist contains a weakened form of the live flu virus and is only approved for use in people ages 2 to 49 with unimpaired immune systems.

Preventing the flu is important for people with HIV/AIDS due to an increased risk from serious influenza-related complications. Studies have shown an increased risk for heart and lung-related hospitalizations in people infected with HIV during influenza season, as well as a higher risk of influenza-related deaths. Other studies have indicated that influenza symptoms might be prolonged for certain HIV-infected people.

And, no, you can’t get the flu from the vaccination. For more information about HIV and influenza, go to the CDC Website.

You can find a place to get the flu shot here. You can also ask your doctor for additional options.

Social app MISTER teams with Hula to help users located HIV and STD testing sites

mister-app-1From Edge on the Net

In an effort to educate mobile app users about HIV, gay social app MISTER has teamed with Hula for an education campaign to help users located HIV and STD testing sites, and to learn their status. “We’re in a position to help educate the community, and we should use it,” said Carl Sandler, CEO of MISTER. “The gay mobile app has become one of the primary ways gay men, particularly younger gay men, connect with one another. We need to do all we can to make sure that they are making informed choices about their partners and their health.”

While overall rates of HIV infection have remained stable, young gay men who have sex with men (MSM), primarily those of color, continue to experience rising rates of new HIV infections. According to the CDC, from 2008-2010, HIV infections among young African-American MSM increased 20 percent. In 2010, MSM accounted for 63 percent of all new infections in the U.S.

The Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training showed that as man as 1 in 10 men using a mobile app to hook up with guys has never had an HIV test. Of that cohort, one third said they told partners they were HIV-negative, and one-third admitted to having sex without a condom. This prompted the decision for MISTER to partner with Hula, an app that helps users find the best local HIV testing center. The app will also empower users to securely display verified info about their last testing date and results.

Go to Edge on the Net to keep reading.

The Afordable Care Act and HIV

Obamacare – officially known as the Affordable Care Act (or ACA) — makes health insurance easier to get and more affordable for many people with HIV. It also removes barriers that may have kept you from being able to get coverage in the past. Starting January 1, 2014, no one can be denied health insurance or charged more because of a pre-existing health condition such as HIV. And insurers can no longer limit how much they’ll spend on your medical care —over a year or your lifetime. These are important changes for someone with HIV. Find out more on greaterthan.org.  

ACA banner