People living with HIV continue to be at increased risk of invasive pneumococcal disease, according to a new study. Even in the era of modern antiretroviral therapy, risk of the infection was much higher among people living with HIV compared to the general population.
Infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae can cause a range of bacterial diseases, from relatively mild illness to much more serious conditions. Non-invasive pneumococcal infections include ear and sinus infections, and bronchitis. Invasive pneumococcal infections include infections of the joints, bones, lungs, and blood. People who have a weakened immune system are most at risk from infection with pneumococcal bacteria. Risk became lower as HIV treatment improved, but even in the latest time period the risk was significantly higher for people living with HIV.
The British HIV Association recommends that people living with HIV who have a CD4 cell count above 200 should be vaccinated against pneumococcal disease, and that vaccination should be considered for people with a CD4 cell count below this level. Booster doses are recommended every five to ten years.
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