Varivax is a vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent chicken pox (also known as primary varicella infection) in people 12 months of age and older. Chicken pox is an opportunistic infection. An opportunistic infection is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as those infected with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems.
The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA-HIVMA), includes recommendations on the use of Varivax in HIV-infected individuals.
Before receiving Varivax, tell your health care provider:
Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from Varivax. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.
A health care provider gives the Varivax vaccine. The vaccine is given as a shot to people who are 12 months of age or older. Vaccination with Varivax in children 12 months to 12 years of age is given as one or two vaccine shots; if two shots are given, they are done at least 3 months apart. Vaccination with Varivax in adolescents and adults is usually given as a series of two vaccine shots over a 4- to 8-week period. Read any printed information that your health care provider gives you about the varicella virus vaccine.
More information about varicella virus vaccines is available:
Last Reviewed: April 23, 2015