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Acute Hepatitis B infection cleared - risk of reactivation?
Jan 22, 2011

I had a severe bout with Hep B 7 years ago, I cleared the infection, I am Surface Antigen negative and Surface antibody positive, HBV DNA test undetecatble. I have been getting some conflicting information, OR perhaps I just don't understand completely. Can HBV get reactivated if I get Cancer or HIV? Chemotherapy? On the CDC site it says after the acute phase clears and I lose the surface antigen and develop antibodies I should have no further issues BUT now my Gastro Dr says differently. Whos right?

Sincerely, Mark

Response from Dr. McGovern

It is true that hepatitis B infection can "reactivate" after being dormant when a person is exposed to something that will suppress their immune system (like chemotherapy).

There are a few case reports of this happening even in patients with evidence of cleared infection...However this is rarely seen.

Thus the liver disease society (AASLD) has recommended prophylactic antiviral therapy for patients with chronic inactive disease but not for those with resolved infection.

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