virus tests check for substances in the blood that show a
hepatitis infection is active or has occurred in the
past. The tests look for
antigens or genetic material (DNA) of the
virus that causes hepatitis. Some tests also look for
antibodies that the body makes against the virus.
Normal results of hepatitis virus testing are called negative. This means that
no antigens, antibodies, or genetic material related to the hepatitis B virus
Hepatitis B and D virus tests
Hepatitis B (HBV)
Hepatitis B (HBV) antibodies and/or
antigens are detected. More tests may be needed to determine whether you
have an acute or chronic (long-term) HBV infection.
Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) shows an active infection. If the test remains positive
for longer than 6 months, this means you have a chronic HBV infection. You can spread
the HBV infection to others.
Hepatitis B surface antibody (HBsAb) shows the end of active infection and means you are
protected against HBV for life. It also can show that you received the HBV
vaccine. Occasionally the test shows that you have both HBsAb antibodies and the HBsAg
antigen. In this case you are still contagious.
Hepatitis B e-antigen (HBeAg) shows an active contagious
HBV DNA testing finds genetic
material (DNA) from the hepatitis B virus and means that you have a current
Hepatitis B core antibody (HBcAb)
shows that you have been infected with HBV. It does not tell the difference
between a past or present infection.
Hepatitis B core antibody IgM (HBcAbIgM) shows an HBV infection that has occurred
within the last 6 months. It can also mean that a chronic hepatitis B infection has flared up.
Hepatitis B e-antibody (HBeAb) shows a less active HBV infection. You are less contagious but
can still infect others.
Hepatitis D (HDV)
Hepatitis D antibodies are found. But this
test cannot tell the difference between an acute and a chronic infection.
Hepatitis D can only be present if hepatitis B is present.
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