Hepatitis A Virus Test
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
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
- 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 (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.
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
No hepatitis A virus (HAV) antibodies are
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.
antibodies are found if you have an active 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
What Affects the Test
Many conditions can change
anti-HAV antibodies levels. Your doctor will talk with you about any abnormal
results that may be related to your symptoms and medical history.
Your results may need to be rechecked if you are taking some herbs or
other natural products.
What To Think About
- Hepatitis A can be prevented by vaccination.
For more information, see the topic
- You may be able to prevent
a hepatitis A infection by getting a hepatitis A vaccination or a dose of
immunoglobulin after you have been exposed to the
virus. See the topic
- Hepatitis antibodies can take
weeks or months to develop, so your results may be negative even though you
have the early stages of an infection (false-negative).
- Other tests that show how
well the liver is working are usually done if your doctor thinks you may have
hepatitis. These tests can include measuring levels of bilirubin, alkaline
phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, and aspartate aminotransferase. For more
information, see the medical tests
Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT), and
Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST).
states require that some types of hepatitis infections be reported to the local
health department. The health department can then send out a warning to other
people who may have been infected with the hepatitis virus, such as those who
ate food served by a person who has the infection.
- Hepatitis A
virus does not cause long-term illness, so there is no need for follow-up
testing once the infection goes away.