BACKGROUND: HIV-infected individuals mount poor antibody responses to vaccines. We sought to identify the immunologic and virologic factors associated with a robust response to hepatitis A virus (HAV) vaccine in children on highly active antiretroviral treatment. METHODS: One hundred fifty-two pediatric highly active antiretroviral treatment recipients immunized against HAV at weeks 0 and 24 had anti-HAV antibodies, CD4+, CD8+, and CD19+ cell percent assessed at weeks 0 and 32. Subgroups had HIV viremia, B- and T-cell subpopulations, and cell-mediated immunity (CMI) to HAV and other stimulants measured. RESULTS: Anti-HAV antibodies after complete vaccination correlated positively with CD4+ percent and CD19+ percent and negatively with viremia and CD8+ percent at baseline, but not at 32 weeks. There were no significant correlations between anti-HAV antibodies and B- or T-cell-naive, memory, or activated subpopulations or non-HAV CMI. Compared with children who remained HAV-CMI-negative, those who mounted HAV-CMI in response to vaccination had higher anti-HAV antibody titers and CD19+ CD21+ CD27+ memory B cell percent at 32 weeks, but no other differences. CONCLUSIONS: In HIV-infected children on highly active antiretroviral treatment, control of viral replication and conserved or reconstituted CD19+ and CD4+ cell numbers and function determine a robust antibody response to anti-HAV primary immunization. Our data support a bidirectional B- and T-cell cooperation in the response to the HAV vaccine.