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Hepatitis A Virus Test

How It Is Done

The health professional taking a sample of your blood will:

  • Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
  • Clean the needle site with alcohol.
  • Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick may be needed.
  • Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
  • Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
  • Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
  • Put pressure on the site and then put on a bandage.

How It Feels

The blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight. You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or pinch.

Risks

There is very little chance of a problem from having blood sample taken from a vein.

  • You may get a small bruise at the site. You can lower the chance of bruising by keeping pressure on the site for several minutes.
  • In rare cases, the vein may become swollen after the blood sample is taken. This problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress can be used several times a day to treat this.
  • Ongoing bleeding can be a problem for people with bleeding disorders. Aspirin, warfarin (such as Coumadin), and other blood-thinning medicines can make bleeding more likely. If you have bleeding or clotting problems, or if you take blood-thinning medicine, tell your doctor before your blood sample is taken.

Results

Hepatitis A virus (HAV) test is a blood test that looks for proteins (antibodies) made by the body in response to the virus that causes hepatitis A.

Negative results of hepatitis virus testing mean that no antibodies against the hepatitis virus were found. Positive results mean that hepatitis A antibodies were found. Results are usually available in 5 to 7 days.

Hepatitis A test
Negative:

No hepatitis A virus (HAV) antibodies are found.

Positive:

Hepatitis A virus (HAV) antibodies are found. You may need more tests to find out if you have a present, active infection or a past, resolved infection.

  • IgM anti-HAV antibodies are found if you have an active or a recent infection. IgM antibodies usually show up in the blood as early as 2 weeks after you become infected with HAV, when symptoms of hepatitis A are present, and last for a few months after symptoms have gone away.
  • Only IgG anti-HAV antibodies are found if you have had an infection in the past or when you have had the hepatitis A vaccine. This means that you are protected against the infection.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 30, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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