What is Varivax?
Varivax is a vaccine approved by the U.S. What is an Opportunistic Infection? fact sheet.(FDA) to prevent chicken pox (also known as ) in adults and children 12 months of age and older. Chicken pox can be an (OI) of HIV. An OI is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened —such as people with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems. To learn more about OIs, read the HIVinfo
The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV and the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Children with and Exposed to HIV include recommendations on the use of Varivax in people with HIV.
What should I tell my health care provider before receiving Varivax?
Before receiving Varivax, tell your health care provider:
- If you or your child are allergic to gelatin, neomycin, any other ingredients in Varivax, or any medicines. Tell your health care provider if you or your child have ever had any reactions to a previous of the live varicella vaccine or to any other vaccines.
- About any medical conditions you or your child have or have had, including a weakened , fever, or active that is not treated.
- If you or your child takes medicines that might weaken the immune system, such as steroids.
- If you or your child have received blood or plasma transfusions or immune globulins.
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Pregnant women should not receive Varivax. Additionally, women should avoid getting pregnant for 3 months after . Talk to your health care provider about the risks of receiving Varivax during pregnancy.
- If you are breast/chestfeeding or plan to breast/chestfeed. For people with HIV in the United States, the Guideline recommends speaking with your health care provider to discuss options for feeding your baby. People with suppressed viral load have a less than 1% chance of transmitting HIV to their baby via their own milk.
- About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you or your child are taking or plan to take. Varivax may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how Varivax works. Ask your health care provider if there are interactions between Varivax and the other medicines you or your child take.
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.
How is Varivax given?
A health care provider gives the Varivax vaccine as recommended to adults and children who are 12 months of age or older. The vaccine is given as a(IM) or injection. Vaccination with Varivax is given as a series of two doses, with an interval between each dose. Read any printed information that your health care provider gives you about the varicella virus vaccine.
Where can I find more information about Varivax?
- Recommendations on the use of Varivax in people with HIV, from the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV and the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Children with and Exposed to HIV.
- This Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Injection (powder, lyophilized, for suspension). The Patient Package Insert includes information for people receiving Varivax.
- Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) available from the (CDC).
- The American Hospital Formulary Service (AHFS) Patient Medication Information for varicella (chickenpox) vaccine available from MedlinePlus.
- Research studies related to varicella virus vaccines, from ClinicalTrials.gov. (The ClinicalTrials.gov search can be modified so that you can get results that better match your interests. To learn more about the ClinicalTrials.gov search features, please see How to Search.)
Last Reviewed: April 5, 2023