Surprisingly low levels of measles immunity in persons with HIV: A seroprevalence survey in a United States HIV clinic

Lindsey Rearigh, Jennifer O’Neill, Maureen Kubat, Harlan Sayles, Susan Swindells, Sara H. Bares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background. Measles outbreaks have become increasingly common due to deteriorating vaccination rates, fluctuating herd immunity, and varying antibody decline. Limited knowledge exists regarding prevalence and risk factors associated with measles seronegativity among persons with HIV (PWH). Methods. This was a cross-sectional study conducted at an academic HIV clinic in Omaha, Nebraska. Participants were screened for the presence of measles IgG antibody. Demographic and clinical information was obtained through electronic medical record review. Simple and multivariable logistic regressions were performed to identify risk factors for measles seronegativity. Results. Three hundred fifty-one participants were enrolled, with a measles seroprevalence rate of 70.3%. The mean age (range) was 48 (20–74) years, 77% were male, and 53% were Caucasian. The mean CD4 nadir (range) was 334 (1–1675) cells/mm3. At the time of testing, 86% and 87% of the seronegative and seropositive participants had an HIV RNA <50 copies/mL, respectively. Younger age was significantly associated with measles seronegativity (P = .003), as was birth year after 1957 (P = .021). Prior history of measles infection was associated with seropositivity (P = .011). All other risk factors evaluated, including written documentation of adequate vaccination, were not associated with seronegativity. Conclusions. Our study demonstrates a measles seroprevalence rate that is remarkably lower than previously reported in PWH (92%), and, more importantly, is considerably lower than the rate needed to maintain herd immunity (95%). With higher than expected seronegativity and absence of notable risk factors aside from age, our findings support expanded measles immunity screening for PWH who are at risk of measles exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • HIV
  • Immunity
  • Measles
  • Seroprevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology


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