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Partner has Hepatitis B
Mar 18, 2010

Dear Dr McGovern,

I am a gay male, aged 34. Six weeks ago, I met a Thai gay man and we both want to have a relationship. After a week of knowing him, he told me he has chronic Hepatitis B since birth.

I received an accelerated Hep B vaccine schedule in 2005 (injection at 0, 7 and 21 days), but I did not receive the 12 month booster.

We deep kissed a few times before I learned of his status, so I received another accerlated schedule (0, 7 and 21 days) very recently. My titre just prior to this second schedule was 16 (the first schedule in 2005 only produced a level of 30).

My questions are: - In terms of having a relationship with this man, what advice could you give me? - I have heard that the accelerated schedule is not as effective as the standard, recommended one of 0, 1 and 6 months. Is this true? - Do you think I should have more injections? - How effective is the vaccine in preventing infection? - We can use condoms, but I would be exposed through deep kissing and, if we live together, contact within the house.

Any advice you can give me would be great, as I am very confused and also anxious about catching Hep B.

Many thanks for your help - it is greatly appreciated as I don't know who I can ask this to.

Response from Dr. McGovern

You ask many good questions. Here are my comments:

1. You are not at risk for acquiring HBV from kissing alone or from cohabitation. I would not share razors. 2. Your antibody level of 16 is protective. Any additional doses will boost your levels higher. 3 The accelerated schedule - when all doses are received - is effective and recommended as an alternative schedule by the CDC for Twinrix (hepatitis A and B combined) 4. The vaccine is extremely effective. In fact in Taiwan where HBV is endemic, infection rates for HBV have plummeted. 5. Your partner should have regular ongoing medical care for his own health...

Best regards.



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