Chronic hepatitis B can be HBeAg-positive or -negative. This means a specific hepatitis B antigen (HBeAg) is present (positive) or is not present (negative) in your blood. High levels of HBV DNA and liver enzymes may be present in both of these types of chronic hepatitis. This points to an active viral infection and increased risk of liver damage.
If you're being treated for hepatitis C virus infection -- also called HCV-- your doctor is keeping track of your viral load.
What is HCV viral load? Why does it matter? WebMD got answers to your most frequently asked questions about hepatitis C and viral load from two experts:
Frank Anania, MD, associate professor of medicine and director of hepatology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
Brian L. Pearlman, MD, medical director of the center for hepatitis C at the Atlanta...
Treatment with antiviral medicine is recommended if you are:1
HBeAg-positive and have high levels of HBV DNA, and your ALT level is more than twice the normal level.
HBeAg-negative and have lower levels of HBV DNA, and your ALT level is more than twice the normal level.
Either HBeAg-positive or negative, have high levels of HBV DNA, and have cirrhosis.
Treatment with antiviral medicine is not recommended if you are:1
HBeAg-positive and have high levels of HBV DNA, and your liver enzymes are less than twice the normal level.
HBeAg-negative and have low levels of HBV DNA, and your liver enzymes are less than twice the normal level.
If you are either HBeAg-positive or -negative, have low levels of HBV DNA, and have cirrhosis, you may be monitored or may need a liver transplant.
The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) also has guidelines for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B. According to the EASL, treatment should be considered for people with high levels of HBV DNA and/or higher-than-normal levels of the liver enzyme ALT, and moderate to severe liver inflammation. But the decision to treat should also consider a person's general health, age, and availability of antiviral medicines.2
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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