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HIV & Hep
May 11, 2008

I have HIV. I've had Hep A and test results show that I've been exposed to Hep B and I have the anigens. Hep was 8 years ago. One doctor recently wanted to give me Hep A and B vaccines. Why? I have the antibodies and antigens. I was told by another doctor, that the antibodies and antigens can get week over time and the shots can be booster. I have never read anything to this effect. So, True or false?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Without being able to review the specific results of your hepatitis A and B tests (both antigens and specific antibodies), it is difficult for me to give specific advice on whether or not hepatitis A and/or B vaccinations would offer you any additional protection. Certainly if your tests indicate you are susceptible to one or both viruses, vaccination would be warranted. Once someone has had hepatitis and recovered, generally he is immune for life. Hepatitis vaccination sometimes doesn't produce the desired antibody response in some HIVers and revaccination may be required. Talk to your HIV specialist and if you remain confused get a second opinion or submit a more detailed question (including results of your hepatitis-screening tests) to our expert forum "Hepatitis and HIV Coinfection."

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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