Our nation confronts a serious public health challenge, the 2009 flu outbreak (commonly referred to as “swine flu”). To learn more about the potential impact of this new outbreak on the HIV community we reached out to Richard Wolitski from the CDC and to local HIV care providers across the country.We still have a lot to learn about this new flu. However, as we noted in our last post, all types of influenza may be dangerous for individuals with compromised, or weakened, immune systems—and that includes many people living with HIV.
Richard directed us to the CDC’s swine flu website that contains regularly updated information on the outbreak investigation as well as information for health care professionals and members of the general public. He pointed out that the CDC is finalizing interim guidance for clinicians caring for HIV-infected adults and adolescents.
Stephen Perez, our HIV.gov Clinical Liaison, spoke with colleagues today in Michigan, New York, San Francisco, San Antonio, and San Diego. Across the board, HIV clinicians and service providers are taking this issue seriously. They are working to provide timely and accurate information to their clients and set up screening procedures to identify and evaluate those with flu-like symptoms. In addition, these providers are developing materials for their clients and families.
Some considerations for people living with HIV Stephen heard from the HIV community include:
- Follow the CDC Guidelines for prevention/transmission of the flu.
- Clinicians should be familliar with and use the clinical guidelines for evaluation and treatment of this flu.
- Persons living with HIV who have flu-like symptoms should take the neccesary precautions to prevent transmission and contact thier healthcare providers immediately for evaluation and care.
- People living with HIV who have questions or believe they have been exposed should contact their healthcare providers directly.