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“It’s Potentially Game-Changing”: Hepatitis B Vaccination Protects People Living With HIV

A late-breaking IDWeek 2022 study found high seroprotection was achieved among people living with HIV after receiving 3 doses of a hepatitis B vaccine.

This year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their hepatitis B vaccination recommendations. Instead of risk-based recommendations, the CDC now recommends all adults vaccinate against hepatitis B virus (HBV).

However, protection against hepatitis B can be difficult to achieve in severely immunocompromised persons, including those living with HIV.

Kenneth E. Sherman, MD, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, presented late-breaking research on this topic at the 2022 IDWeek conference. The study examined 3 doses of HepB-CpG vaccine in persons living with HIV and without prior hepatitis B vaccination.

Because the illness weakens the immune system, people living with HIV may not mount a sufficient antibody response to standard hepatitis B vaccination. “For those living with HIV, response rates to a primary vaccination series with what has been the standard vaccine preparations ranges from 35-70%, leaving a fairly large number of people at risk for getting hepatitis B,” said Sherman.

“The topline result is that 100% of those that we vaccinated had a response,” Sherman said. “Furthermore, the titer of the response was extremely high, with over 88% achieving a titer that was greater than 1000 million IU/mL…to put that into perspective, protection is thought to be acquired when one achieves a titer of 10 million IU/mL.”

This research, “High HBsAb Seroprotection Achieved 4 Weeks after 3 doses of HepB-CpG Vaccine in People Living with HIV (PLWH) without Prior HBV Vaccination (ACTG A5379 Group B Preliminary Results),” was presented as a late-breaking vaccine study during the IDWeek 2022 conference, held October 19-23, 2022, in Washington, D.C.