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Hepatitis B Virus Tests

What Affects the Test

Your doctor will talk with you about anything that may stop you from having the test or that may change the test results.

What To Think About

  • Hepatitis B can be prevented by vaccination. The presence of antibodies to the hepatitis B virus may mean that you have developed immunity to the infection after being vaccinated. The hepatitis B vaccination protects against hepatitis D infection also.
  • Hepatitis antibodies can take weeks or months to develop, so a person infected with hepatitis may initially test negative if testing is done early in the infection.
  • People who have received the hepatitis B vaccine can have HBsAb antibodies without having any of the other hepatitis B markers (HBcAb, HBeAb, HBsAg, HBeAg, and HBV DNA).
  • All donated blood and organs are tested for hepatitis before being used.
  • Other tests that show how well the liver is working are usually done along with hepatitis B tests. Examples include measurement of bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, and aspartate aminotransferase.
  • In many states, some types of hepatitis infections must be reported to the local health department. The health department can then issue a warning to other people who may have been infected with the hepatitis virus, such as those who are close contacts of someone with hepatitis B.

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerW. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
Last RevisedOctober 29, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 29, 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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