Exams and Tests
Your doctor will
hepatitis B based on a physical
exam and blood tests. He or she also will ask about your medical history (including possible risks for the virus, such as your job and sexual activity).
Blood tests to diagnose hepatitis B
tests are done to help diagnose hepatitis B. They include:
- Hepatitis B
antibodies. These help tell
if you are or were infected with the virus. They also can show if you have been immunized
and if you have long-term (chronic) infection.
You also may get tested for the virus's genetic material (HBV DNA).
information, see Hepatitis B Virus Tests.
- Tests to see if the
hepatitis C, or
Epstein-Barr viruses are causing your hepatitis.
- Tests to see if you are infected with
hepatitis D along with hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis B and C: Should I Be Tested?
Blood tests to check for liver damage
Blood tests may be done to help find out if your liver
has been damaged. They include:
Tests if you are having treatment or are thinking about it
Tests may be done if you have chronic hepatitis and are
considering antiviral treatment. These tests also may be used to find out
whether treatment has helped control liver damage. The tests include:
- Imaging tests.
- Removing a tissue sample from the liver (liver biopsy).
Test for liver cancer
alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test may be done. If the AFP
level is high, it may point to liver cancer.
If you have
chronic infection, you will need to visit your doctor
regularly. He or she will do blood tests to check your liver function and the
activity of the virus in your body.
Some of the tests can tell your
doctor if the virus is multiplying in your liver. This raises your risk for chronic
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all pregnant women have
the hepatitis B surface antigen test. The test can show if a woman has a current hepatitis B infection. This test also may be repeated later in the pregnancy if
a woman is at high risk for infection.
You can be tested for
hepatitis B before getting vaccinated.
- Antibody testing will show if you have an active hepatitis B infection and need treatment.
- If testing shows that you are already protected against hepatitis B, you won't need to get the hepatitis B vaccine(What is a PDF document?).
- It's not harmful to get the
vaccine even if you already have antibodies against the virus in your