How Do I Get Tested For Hepatitis B/hbv
There are three blood tests for Hepatitis B. One tests for the virus itself, and two test for your bodys reaction to the virus. Sometimes your healthcare provider will do all three tests since they tell her different things.
- If you are positive for the antigen test it means that you are currently infected with the virus and can pass it to other. If you clear an HBV infection and do not remain chronically infected, you will usually test negative again within 4 months after your symptoms resolve.
- If you are positive on the anti-HBs test, which looks for your bodys reaction to a surface protein of the virus, it means that you are immune to Hepatitis B. This could either be because you were previously exposed to the virus or because you were vaccinated. You can not pass the virus to others.
- If you are positive on the anti-HBc test, which looks for your bodys reaction to a core protein of the virus, it usually means that you are chronically infected with HBV, and can pass the disease to others. However, if you are also positive on the anti-HBs test, then a positive anti-HBc test is probably because of a previous infection.
Other tests may be ordered if your healthcare provider thinks you are chronically infected with HBV. These tests are done to monitor the progress of the disease and its treatment – not to detect whether or not you are infected.
What Are The Treatments For Viral Hepatitis
The treatment for viral hepatitis depends on the type and stage of the infection. Over the last several years, excellent treatments for both hepatitis B and C have become available. More and improved treatments are being evaluated all the time.
Your primary care doctor should be able to provide adequate care of your hepatitis. However, if you have severe hepatitis, you may require treatment by a hepatologist or gastroenterologist — specialists in diseases of the liver. Hospitalization is normally unnecessary unless you cannot eat or drink or are vomiting.
Hepatitis A usually requires minimal treatment and your liver usually heals within 2 months. Make sure you stay hydrated and well-nourished. While a vaccination can prevent you from getting hepatitis A, once you have had it, you cannot be re-infected.
Doctors sometimes recommend drug therapy for people with hepatitis B and C. Antiviral medication for hepatitis B includes adefovir , entecavir , interferon, lamivudine , peginterferon , telbivudine , and tenofovir.
Until recently, the standard treatment for chronic hepatitis C was a course of peginterferon plus ribavirin for people with genotype 2 and 3, and peginterferon plus ribavirin plus a protease inhibitor for people with genotype 1. These treatments had been shown to be effective in from 50% to 80% of those infected with hepatitis C but the side effects were very difficult for people to tolerate.
Hepatitis in Pregnant Women
Other Points to Consider
Shall I Tell My Partner I Have Hepatitis B
If you are diagnosed with hepatitis B you should tell anyone who you may have had blood to blood contact with, or unprotected sex with, since you became infected. In some cases this may be hard to work out, so it is best to discuss the risks to others with a clinician. Any contacts may have the virus without knowing it, and could pass it on to others, so it is important for them to get tested.
Don’t Miss: Is There A Cure For Chronic Hepatitis C
Using Elisa And Hcv Rna Tests Together:
- Negative ELISA = No hepatitis C antibodies found in blood. You are probably not infected with HCV.
- Positive ELISA = You may have HCV infection. However, it is possible this is a false-positive. More testing is required.
- Negative HCV RNA = No active HCV infection.
- Positive HCV RNA = Active HCV infection.
What To Do If The Hcv Antibody Test Is Reactive
If the antibody test is reactive or positive, you need an additional test to see if you currently have hepatitis C. This test is called a nucleic acid test for HCV RNA. Another name used for this test is a PCR test.
If the NAT for HCV RNA is:
- Negative you were infected with hepatitis C virus, but the virus is no longer in your body because you were cured or cleared the virus naturally.
- Positive you now have the virus in your blood.
If you have a reactive antibody test and a positive NAT for HCV RNA, you will need to talk to a doctor about treatment. Treatments are available that can cure most people with hepatitis C in 8 to 12 weeks.
Don’t Miss: Hepatitis A What Is It
What Is Hepatitis B And How Is It Transmitted
Hepatitis B is a virus that can infect and damage the liver. It is carried in the blood and bodily fluids. It is usually transmitted through blood to blood contact but can also be passed on through bodily fluids. This might be through sharing needles when injecting drugs, a cut in the skin that comes into contact with infected blood, use of unsterilised equipment when getting a tattoo or body piercing, or sharing razors or toothbrushes that are contaminated with infected blood or other bodily fluids.
It can be transmitted through sex, although this is rare and can be prevented by using a condom. However, it is 50 – 100 times more infectious than HIV.
How Is Hepatitis Contracted
There are various ways of contracting hepatitis, depending on the type. Contracting a viral form of hepatitis depends on the mode of transmission, which the table above shows.
A person may sometimes contract hepatitis nonvirally. In autoimmune hepatitis, the immune system attacks the liver cells. Ingesting substances that contain toxins, such as alcohol, can also induce some types of hepatitis.
A doctor may use a blood test to diagnose viral hepatitis.
A healthcare professional will check a persons blood for:
- HAV-specific immunoglobulin G antibodies to diagnose HAV
- the surface antigen HBsAg to diagnose HBV
- anti-HCV antibodies to diagnose HCV
- high immunoglobulin G and anti-HDV immunoglobulin M levels to diagnose HDV
- virusspecific IgM antibodies to identify HEV
To autoimmune hepatitis, a doctor may consider:
Recommended Reading: Is Hepatitis A Virus Or Bacteria
Preparing Clients For Screening
Once clients are comfortable talking about viral , they might be more willing to undergo screening. However, clients might be anxious about the test itself a reassurance that testing is a simple procedure can help allay these concerns. Many substance use treatment facilities do not offer screening, and clients might need to be referred elsewhere. The following strategies can enhance the discussion of the hepatitis screening process and hepatitis prevention:
Is There A Way To Prevent Hepatitis A
Yes. There is a vaccine available. It is recommended that all children be vaccinated at age one year. Any children ages 2-18 who did not receive the vaccine at age one should also receive the vaccine. It is also recommended for people who are at an increased risk of exposure to the virus, such as:
- People traveling to developing countries with a high rate of hepatitis A
- Illegal drug users
- Men who have sex with men
The vaccine is also recommended for those who are at a greater risk for complications from the disease, including people with chronic liver disease and those who have damage to their liver from some other cause.
If it is known that you were exposed to the hepatitis A virus, you may be given the vaccine to prevent the disease.
Hepatitis A can also be prevented with good hygiene. This includes washing hands well after using the bathroom, after changing diapers, and before eating or starting any food preparation.
Recommended Reading: How Much Cost Hepatitis C Treatment
What Happens During A Hepatitis Panel
A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
You may also be able to use an at-home kit to test for hepatitis. While instructions may vary between brands, your kit will include a device to prick your finger . Youll use this device to collect a drop of blood for testing. For more information on at-home testing for hepatitis, talk to your health care provider.
Transmission Symptoms And Treatment
How is HBV transmitted?
HBV is transmitted through activities that involve percutaneous or mucosal contact with infectious blood or body fluids , including
- sex with an infected partner
- injection-drug use that involves sharing needles, syringes, or drug-preparation equipment
- birth to an infected mother
- contact with blood from or open sores on an infected person
- exposures to needle sticks or sharp instruments and
- sharing certain items with an infected person that can break the skin or mucous membranes , potentially resulting in exposure to blood.
How long does HBV survive outside the body?
HBV can survive outside the body and remains infectious for at least 7 days .
What should be used to clean environmental surfaces potentially contaminated with HBV?
Any blood spills should be disinfected using a 1:10 dilution of one part household bleach to 10 parts of water. Gloves should be worn when cleaning up any blood spills.
Who is at risk for HBV infection?
The following populations are at increased risk for becoming infected with HBV:
- Infants born to infected mothers
- Sex partners of infected people
- Men who have sex with men
- People who inject drugs
- Household contacts or sexual partners of known people with chronic HBV infection
- Health-care and public-safety workers at risk for occupational exposure to blood or blood-contaminated body fluids
- Hemodialysis patients
Who should be screened for HBV?
CDC recommends that the following people be screened for HBV :
Is It Possible To Prevent Hepatitis
Hepatitis prevention is very much a possibility with the right strategies. A vaccine is available for hepatitis A. Healthcare providers recommend this vaccine for all people who are at high risk of exposure to the virus. Children- one year and above, should take this vaccine. Prevention of hepatitis A is possible with good hygiene and sanitation. Washing hands especially after using the toilet and before consumption of food can help with cutting hepatitis A transmission. Hepatitis B vaccine has become the norm in developed nations and most new-borns are given these shots. The hepatitis B shots are recommended for children and adolescents as well as adults in high-risk groups. Hepatitis C vaccine is not developed yet, and efforts are in the process to have a vaccine for this infection. Prevention of hepatitis C is possible by avoiding contact or exposure to blood and bodily fluids. Further, avoiding the sharing of needles or other instruments to inject drugs can cut the rate of transmission of this disease.
The Role Of Hepatitis Tests
The purpose of hepatitis tests is to screen for and diagnose hepatitis, evaluate the liver, and to determine the underlying cause of hepatitis:
- Screening for viral hepatitis infection: Screening involves testing to look for diseases before a person develops symptoms. Hepatitis tests are commonly used to screen for two types of viral hepatitis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, in certain populations.
- Diagnose the underlying cause of hepatitis: Hepatitis testing is often used to determine the underlying cause of inflammation in the liver or liver damage. Testing can identify whether a person has a viral hepatitis infection, if hepatitis is acute or chronic, and whether they are contagious and can spread viral hepatitis to others.
- Assessing immunity to viral hepatitis: After a patient recovers from certain types of viral hepatitis, including hepatitis A and hepatitis B, their body develops protective antibodies, and they become immune to future infections. Hepatitis testing can help doctors understand if a patient has developed immunity based on a past infection or successful vaccination.
- Guiding treatment for hepatitis: Hepatitis testing may be ordered to help determine the most appropriate treatment for hepatitis. Testing can also help detect complications of hepatitis and assess a patients response to treatment.
Read Also: How To Cure Hepatitis B
How Is It Used
This test is used to help diagnose a liver infection due to the hepatitis A virus . There are several causes of hepatitis and the accompanying symptoms, so this test may be used to determine if the symptoms are due to hepatitis A.
A few different versions of the test may be used to detect different classes of hepatitis A antibodies.
In acute hepatitis, other tests such as bilirubin, liver panel, ALT, and AST may be performed with viral hepatitis tests to help diagnose the condition.
How Do You Test For Hepatitis B
A simple blood test carried out by a healthcare professional will show whether you have the virus. You may also be given extra tests to see if your liver is damaged.
If youve got hepatitis B you should be tested for other STIs. Its important that you tell your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested and treated. Many people who have hepatitis B dont notice anything wrong, and by telling them you can help to stop the virus being passed on. This can also stop you from getting the infection again.
Recommended Reading: Where To Get Tested For Hepatitis C
Are There Blood Tests For Hepatitis B
Yes. Many chronically infected persons show no outward signs of hepatitis B infection. Therefore, screening for hepatitis B is important and necessary. Ask your doctor for the following blood tests:
HEPATITIS B SURFACE ANTIGEN : Tells if you have chronic hepatitis B. Only the HBsAg blood test can tell if you have chronic hepatitis B.
HEPATITIS B SURFACE ANTIBODY : Tells if you are protected against hepatitis B.
|Chronic HBV infection|
Testing For Hepatitis C
Two tests need to be done to discover if you have hepatitis C:
- Antibody test: Which establishes whether you have ever been exposed to the hepatitis C virus.
- PCR test: Which establishes whether the virus is still active and needs treating.
The two tests can often be done from one sample of blood which means you may only need to provide the sample once. Both tests can then be done on your sample at the laboratory. However, some services will perform one test and then call you back for a further blood sample to perform the second test.
A hepatitis C antibody test is the first test undertaken. This is to determine whether you have ever been exposed to the hepatitis C virus. It works by testing for the presence of antibodies to the virus generated by your immune system. If you receive a negative hepatitis C antibody test but have been experiencing symptoms or have been recently exposed to hepatitis C, then you are likely to be advised to have a second test.
It is important to remember that there is a ‘window period’. This is the short period of time when your immune system may not have had time to produce antibodies. It usually takes between six and twelve weeks for these antibodies to develop. However, in a few people it can take up to six months. So if you have the test within this window period and the result is negative, it does not necessarily mean that you don’t have the virus.
Don’t Miss: Colloidal Silver And Hepatitis C
Discussing Screening Results With Clients
The medical personnel who ordered or arranged the screening test, not counselors, usually explain the results. Hepatitis screening should be part of the intake physical examination in an opioid treatment program, and medical personnel may report the results. However, the client may want to discuss the results with the counselor or ask the counselor questions.
Anxiety might interfere with some clients ability to comprehend or retain information, which might need to be repeated.
Suggestions for conversations with clients when the test results are negative include the following:
- Explain results clearly and simply: So the HCV screening result was negative? This means that, as of 6 months ago, you did not have .
- Emphasize that a negative result to an HCV test does not indicate to and that the client should take precautions to avoid . If a relapse to drug use occurs, advise clients to avoid sharing any drug paraphernalia or equipment. Specify that this includes cookers, cotton, water, needles, syringes, pipes, and straws.
- Emphasize the importance of getting HAV and HBV vaccinations. Provide information about the availability of low- or no-cost vaccinations.
Clients whose screening test results are positive for will need additional tests and examinationsusually with doctors who specialize in diseases of the liver to get accurate diagnoses and to determine their health status and the extent of liver damage. These tests are described in .