Chickenpox And AIDS

Chickenpox can be deadly for someone with AIDS, therefore it’s important to keep your loved one away from all contact with this disease.

Chickenpox can kill a person with AIDS. If the person you are caring for has already had the chickenpox, he or she probably won’t get it again. Just to be on the safe side, however:

  • Never let anybody with chickenpox in the same room as a person with AIDS, at least not until all the chickenpox sores have completely hardened over.
  • Don’t let anybody who has been exposed to chickenpox in the same room as a person with AIDS. After 3 weeks, people who have been exposed to the chickenpox can visit if they aren’t sick. Most adults have had chickenpox, but you have to be very careful about children visiting or living in the house. If you have been exposed to chickenpox and you have to help a loved one with AIDS, wear a well-fitting, surgical-type mask, wash your hands often, and avoid contact as much as possible. Tell your loved one why you’re staying away from him or her.
  • Don’t let anybody with shingles (herpes zoster) near a loved one with AIDS until all the shingles have healed over. The germ that causes shingles can also cause chickenpox. If you have shingles and must care for a person with AIDS, cover all of your sores completely and wash your hands frequently.
  • Call the doctor as soon as possible if your loved one comes into contact with someone who has chickenpox or shingles. A medicine is available that can make the chickenpox less dangerous, but it must be given very soon after the exposure to the germ.

© Copyright FamilyCare America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Adapted from Caring for Someone with AIDS at Home: A Guide, ACTIS Publication No. D817, United States Department of Health and Human Services, AIDS Clinical Trial Information Service.

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