This article describes a prospective longitudinal study of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infections in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected children, designed to determine their natural history of VZV infection and possible effects of VZV on the progression of HIV infection. Varicella was usually not a serious acute problem, and it did not seem to precede clinical deterioration. The rate of zoster was high: 70% in children with low levels of CD4+ lymphocytes at the time of development of varicella. It is predicted that immunization with live attenuated varicella vaccine is unlikely to be deleterious to HIV-infected children. Moreover, if they are immunized when they still have relatively normal levels of CD4+ lymphocytes, they may have a lower rate of reactivation of VZV than if they were allowed to develop natural varicella when their CD4+ cell counts have fallen to low levels as a result of progressive HIV infection.
J. Infect. Dis.
Varicella-zoster virus infection in children with underlying human immunodeficiency virus infection.