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Hep B and Marriage
May 14, 2006

I found out that my girlfriend has Hep B from birth. I have one shot remaining to get immunized. We have not had sex yet. My questions:

1. If I marry her, what are the risks to me as well as her? I want to know how healthy a life is she going to be able to lead.

2. If we have kids, what are the risks associated? I would not want to bring a life on earth with serious health problems.

3. Can we do any tests to find out how much infected she is and get a measure of the risk in our married life?

Thanks.

Response from Dr. McGovern

1. The hepatitis B vaccine works very well. I would get a test called hepatitis B surface antibody to prove that the shot worked.

2. If your wife gets pregnant, she will be followed closely and her baby will be given a series of hepatitis B vaccine and immunoglobulin at birth to prevent infection.

3. The risk to you can be better quantified, by measuring her level of virus. Some patients have hepatitis B surface antigen, but do not have virus in their blood. They are called "inactive carriers".

Dr. M



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