Laura MacInnis
May 2, 2009

People with HIV are at high risk from the new flu strain that the World Health Organisation said is on the verge of a pandemic, the WHO said on Saturday.

[efoods]The United Nations agency said people with immunodeficiency diseases — including the AIDS virus — will most likely be vulnerable to health complications from the H1N1 strain, as they are from regular seasonal flu, which kills between 250,000 and 500,000 people a year.

HIV and the new flu strain could also mix together in a dangerous way, as has occurred with HIV and tuberculosis, the WHO said in guidance for health workers on its website.

“Although there are inadequate data to predict the impact of a possible human influenza pandemic on HIV-affected populations, interactions between HIV/AIDS and A(H1N1) influenza could be significant,” it said.

“HIV-infected persons should be considered as a high risk and a priority population for preventive and therapeutic strategies against influenza including emerging influenza A(H1N1) virus infection,” it said.

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