Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection can cause serious diseases and complications in the HIV-positive population. Due to successful vaccination programmes measles, mumps and congenital rubella syndrome has become neglected in Germany. However, recent outbreaks of measles have occurred from import-associated cases. In this cross-sectional study the serostatus for MMR and VZV in 2013 HIV-positive adults from three different university outpatient clinics in Bonn (n = 544), Cologne (n = 995) and Munich (n = 474) was analysed. Sera were tested for MMR- and VZV-specific immunglobulin G antibodies using commercial immunoassays. Seronegativity was found in 3% for measles, 26% for mumps, 11% for rubella and 2% for VZV. Regarding MMR, 35% of patients lacked seropositivity against at least one infectious agent. In multivariable analysis younger age was strongly associated with seronegativity against all four viruses, measles, mumps, rubella (P < 0·001, P < 0·001 and P = 0·001, respectively) and VZV (P = 0·001). In conclusion, there is high need for MMR and VZV vaccination in people living with HIV in Germany born in 1970 or later. Thus, systematic MMR and VZV antibody screening and vaccination should be implemented in the HIV-positive population to prevent serious disease and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases.