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Hepatitis and HIV CoinfectionHepatitis and HIV Coinfection
          
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Hepatitus B clarification
Jan 30, 2005

I found out I was HIV + on Nov 5, 2004.

On Nov 15, 2004 I did my first blood test for CD4/Viral Load/Resistence etc. and then went back on Dec 15th for my first doctor's visit to discuss the numbers. This is a local HIV clinic that specializes in people who do not have insurance. They are considered one of the best in the US for treating HIV patients.

So I tell them I had already started a Hep B vaccine with the local STD clinic back on Nov 10th and asked them if I should go back to the STD clinic to finish my 2nd and 3rd rounds of the vaccine. They said no, that they would finish it up. So I got the 2nd immunization with my Dec 15th visit.

So I go in today for my 2nd doctor's visit (Jan 12th) and I had a question about starting my Hep A vaccine, and that prompted my doctor to look at my Hep test results and she has this perplexed look on her face and tells me that my test results show that I already contracted Hep B and that it "cleared". So I ask what the heck does that mean, and she says I don't need to take the 3rd Hep B vaccine shot and that I am immune since I already contracted it.

So I have a few questions for you.

1) How in the heck does this HIV clinic administer a Hep B vaccine shot without looking at my records regarding whether or not I am already immune? Would that bother you or is this not much of a big deal since the vaccine was nothing more than a waste of time (no harm done, in other words)? 2) So since the Hep B is "cleared", does that mean I no longer have Hep B and I cannot pass it on to anyone? 3) Is this type of immunzation even stronger than taking the vaccine? How long before I need to get a booster shot, or will I ever have to do that?

Response from Dr. McGovern

It may be helpful to look at the records to see if perhaps your laboratory tests did not indicate past infection. Alternatively, you may have had only isolated hepatitis B core antibody present and it is unclear as to whether or not those patients should be immunized.

Yes you would have cleared the hepatitis B and cannot pass it on because the virus is not in your bloodstream.

Natural infection is the strongest "immunizer". You will not get it again and do not need a booster.

Dr. McGovern



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