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HBsAg Test to Determine the Presence of the Hepatitis B Virus

HBsAg Test to Determine the Presence of the Hepatitis B Virus

Max Lab

Nov 16, 2022

Hepatitis B is a very common and serious liver condition that affects multitudes of people across the world. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus, which attacks and injures the liver and can lead to the development of an acute as well as a chronic infection. Hepatitis B is a preventable and treatable disease, but is also a ‘silent epidemic’, owing to the fact that many people who have been recently infected or are suffering from chronic hepatitis B don’t display any symptoms, which means that the HBsAg test, anti-HBs antibody test, HBV DNA test, etc. are the only way to detect the presence of the virus. Based on which test is included in it, like the HBsAg or HBV DNA test, the price of the hepatitis B profile test panel will also vary.

For screening as well as diagnosis, the hepatitis B surface antigen test is the test that is most commonly prescribed. Often, the HBsAg and ELISA test are performed together to detect the presence of both surface antigens and antibodies in a blood sample.

The Hepatitis B Antigen Test

The main marker that is detected with this test, HBsAg means 'hepatitis B surface antigens’ which are proteins found on the surface of the hep B virus. Here, positive hepatitis B test results will signify that the antigens were found in high quantities in the blood, which may be indicative of an acute or chronic infection. This test can also be used to screen for hepatitis B by detecting the presence of HBsAg, so treatment can be availed on time, even if one is showing no symptoms of having contracted the virus. Positive results may also lead to the doctor ordering a hepatitis B confirmatory test panel for a more comprehensive diagnosis.

A doctor may prescribe the HBsAg test as a means to:

  • Screen for HBV: This is a screening test that helps detect the infection before an individual develops any symptoms. The test helps in the early detection of the disease, so timely treatment can be provided.
  • Diagnosing and Evaluating An HBV Infection: The test, along with some others, can help identify whether an individual has an acute or chronic infection and whether they can spread the virus to others.
  • Assessing a Past HBV Infection and Immunity: The HBsAg test can help determine if a person is immune to the virus due to vaccination or if they have recovered from a past infection. The test also identifies if an individual is at an increased risk of HBV reactivation.

When Should One Go for an HBsAg Test?

Hepatitis B is a highly contagious and serious health condition that is transmitted through contact with blood and bodily fluids. The hepatitis b antigen test is recommended for people of all age groups who are at an increased risk of contracting the infection. A person may be suggested to undergo the HBsAg test if they:

  • Are pregnant
  • Have not received their hepatitis B vaccine
  • Are HIV positive
  • Use intravenous drugs
  • Indulge in unprotected sex

A person infected with the hep B virus may not show any symptoms for months, and if they do, they should consult their doctor immediately. Symptoms include:

  • A yellow tinge in the whites of the eyes or yellowing skin (jaundice)
  • Weakness
  • Discomfort in the abdomen
  • Fever
  • Low appetite
  • Painful joints or muscles
  • Dark-coloured urine
  • Fatigue

Treatment for Hepatitis B

On receiving positive results for their HBsAg test, treatment for hepatitis B can be started. For higher than the normal range of HBsAg, treatment may include medication, or a person may be asked to follow a nutritional diet, ensure plenty of rest, etc. A person may also be recommended to avoid substances that harm the liver, like alcohol or certain supplements.

Hepatitis B is highly contagious but can only spread when one comes in contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. However, even though traces of the hep B virus can be found in the saliva, the infection does spread through, sneezing, coughing, kissing, or sharing utensils.



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