Did you know the flu can break your heart? A large Russian study recently reported that even for HIV-negative people, getting the flu can trigger heart disease. The American Heart Association also says having heart disease (many positive people do) makes the flu deadlier. Folks with HIV need a flu shot yearly and Pneumovax, to block bacterial pneumonia, every five.

Before you roll up your sleeve, a few reminders:

  • If your CD4 count is below 200, vaccinations might not be appropriate for you. Consult your doctor.
  • The shot doesn’t give you flu, but you may feel ill for a day while your immune system works to make antibodies.
  • FluMist, a nasal spray made from live virus, isn’t for positive people.
  • Encourage family and friends to get vaccinated too. Otherwise, their flu could become yours.