National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is an annual observance held in August to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. NIAM was established to encourage people to make sure they are up to date on vaccines recommended. (Read more about the observance.)
Since HIV can make it difficult for your immune system to fight infections, people living with HIV can benefit greatly from vaccines against preventable infections. So immunizations are an important part of health care for people living with HIV. To learn more about which vaccines are recommended for people living with HIV, visit HIV.gov’s Immunizations Recommended for People Living With HIV.
“Hepatitis B can be prevented by vaccination,” notes our colleague, Corinna Dan, R.N., M.P.H., who serves as the Viral Hepatitis Policy Advisor in the HHS Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy. “About 10% of people with HIV are coinfected with hepatitis B. The other 90% can protect themselves by taking the three-dose hepatitis B vaccine series, which is recommended for all people living with HIV who do not have hepatitis B.”
Hepatitis B is easily spread during unprotected sex and through exposure to the blood of someone who is chronically infected. “If you’re not sure whether you’ve been vaccinated against hepatitis B, talk with your doctor,” Dan says, noting that achieving universal hepatitis B vaccination for children and vulnerable adults is a key strategy in the National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan.
Learn more about vaccines from our colleagues at vaccines.gov. You can also enter your address or ZIP code in the HealthMap Vaccine Finder, a free, online tool that can help you find the vaccines you want in local pharmacies and clinics.
During National Immunization Awareness Month this August, make sure you have all your recommended immunizations, help spread the word about hepatitis B vaccinations, and encourage others to get vaccinated.