BACKGROUND: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is an important cause of comorbidity in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals. The immunogenicity of HBV vaccination in children receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) was investigated. METHODS: HIV-infected children receiving HAART who had low to moderate HIV loads and who had previously received 3 doses of HBV vaccine were given an HBV vaccine booster. Concentrations of antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) were determined before vaccination and at weeks 8, 48, and 96. A subset of subjects was administered a subsequent dose, and anti-HBs was measured before and 1 and 4 weeks later. RESULTS: At entry, 24% of 204 subjects were seropositive. Vaccine response occurred in 46% on the basis of seropositivity 8 weeks after vaccination and in 37% on the basis of a 4-fold rise in antibody concentration. Of 69 subjects given another vaccination 4-5 years later, immunologic memory was exhibited by 45% on the basis of seropositivity 1 week after vaccination and by 29% on the basis of a 4-fold rise in antibody concentration at 1 week. Predictors of response and memory included higher nadir and current CD4 cell percentage, higher CD19 cell percentage, and undetectable HIV load. CONCLUSIONS: HIV-infected children frequently lack protective levels of anti-HBs after previous HBV vaccination, and a significant proportion of them do not respond to booster vaccination or demonstrate memory despite receiving HAART, leaving this population insufficiently protected from infection with HBV.