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Hepatitis B & C, risks, tests
Aug 12, 2006

Dear Dr. McGovern,

I live outside the USA in a country where hep. B is endemic, and I'm not able to communicate well with local doctors. STD and hepatitis info.is limited, even in the local language.

I would sincerely appreciate your expert opinion.

I was screened for Hepatitis A, B and C in late 2004. All tests for anti-bodies and infection came back negative. Prior to this I was in a long term monogamous relationship, and I never have used any drugs, so I believe tests are accurate. I am a heterosexual male.

In January 2005 I began the full course of shots for hep. A (2 shots over 6 months) and hep.B (3 shots over 6 months).

No sex with a new partner until Dec. 30, 2005 (protected vaginal, unprotected oral sex giving and receiving, deep kissing¡X6 months after my completed hep A and B vaccinations). On Feb. 6, 2006 I was screened for Hep. B and C and the test results on the report read: Anti-HBs: reactive HBsAg(EIA): non-reactive Anti-Hepatitis C virus: non-reactive

My only sexual contact since Dec. 30, 2005 has been one episode of deep kissing and being masturbated by a female friend on May 3, 2006.

1. In my case, would you recommend retesting for hep. B infection and anti-bodies?

2. I tested negative again for hep. C anti-bodies on June 26, 2006 (6 months and 8 weeks each after last two sexual episodes). Should I get tested again for Hep.C? Is 8 weeks enough time for an accurate test result? And/or was my last "sex" too low risk to worry about?

3. On June 26, 2006 also tested neg. for syphilis (RPR), gonorrhea(urine), chlamyida(urine) and HIV (ELISA). Should I get retested for any of these? I know HIV test needs at least 90 days, but would 8 weeks be enough time for the other tests? Or was my last episode of "sex" too low risk for hep.B, C, HIV/STD's to worry about, esp. with the neg. test results at that time?

Thank you very much!

Response from Dr. McGovern

Your hepatitis B panel confirms that you have been protected. I would not bother with the other panel of tests for hepatitis B or for any of the other STDs.

Continue to use good judgment; keep in mind condoms for any sexual intercourse you may have in the future. Consistent condom use protects against papillomavirus, HIV, HBV, HCV, and herpes.



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