Hepatitis B


There are different ways of testing Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B test also known as HBV Tests are done to detect the antibodies produced by the body against Hepatitis B infection. There are also tests done to detect the antigens produced by Hepatitis B virus. The last type of HBV Test is a test conducted to detect viral DNA.

Why do we need to undergo HBV Testing?

  1. Since there are two main types of Hepatitis B (acute and chronic Hepatitis B), tests to determine if the patient has any of the following is being done.
  2. HBV Testing is conducted to determine the type or strain of Hepatitis B virus that is affecting the patient
  3. HBV tests are conducted to monitor the patient’s condition if the Hepatitis B infection is getting cleared or is becoming chronic
  4. To determine if a person was infected or exposed to Hepatitis B virus
  5. For screening purposes especially for people who are at high risk (babies born of infected Hepatitis B mothers, people who regularly deals with people with Hepatitis B)
  6. To check if previously cleared Hepatitis B infection remains cleared
  7. To check if a person developed immunity after vaccination

Three types of HBV Test

  1. Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) - this HBV Test works by detecting the presence of protein on the surface of the virus. This is used in identifying infected people before even seeing the symptoms of Hepatitis B infection. This test identifies if a person is already suffering from chronic Hepatitis B infection.
  2. Hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs) – this test is conducted to determine the antibody produced in response to HBV surface antigen during treatment. This determines if a person still needs a vaccine of whether if a person is immune against Hepatitis B virus.
  3. Total anti-hepatitis B core (anti-HBc, IgM, and IgG) – this test works by detecting the GM and IgG antibodies to hepatitis B core antigen meaning it can determine if a patient has acute or chronic Hepatitis B infection. At the onset of Hepatitis B infection, IgM antibody is being produced while IgG antibody is being produced later and stays for life if the infection gets untreated.

After these types of tests are done, there are minor tests that a patient needs to go through in order to make sure that they are getting the right treatment. Other tests not related to Hepatitis B infection such as liver biopsy might be needed as well to check possible complications like liver damage.

When does a person need to have these tests?

Hepatitis B infection is a condition characterized by some symptoms such as fever, feeling fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, and nausea having abdominal pain and dark urine, joint pain and having jaundice. If a person starts to show these symptoms for a period of time, a doctor might order to do the above-mentioned test to verify if the patient has Hepatitis B infection.  Some private companies also order a Hepatitis B screening for all employees to make sure that no one is a threat in terms of transmitting Hepatitis B.