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 (HBSAG): Tells if you have chronic hepatitis B. Only the HBsAg blood test can tell if you have chronic hepatitis B.
HEPATITIS B SURFACE ANTIBODY (ANTI-HBS): Tells if you are protected against hepatitis B.
|Chronic HBV Infection|
|Immune to HBV|
|Unprotected, needs vaccination|
|Chronic HBV infection|
Who should get screened for hepatitis B?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control calls for HBV screening of all foreign-born persons from regions where hepatitis B is common (Asia, Africa, South America, the Pacific Islands, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East) regardless of their vaccination history.
Additionally, all pregnant women should be screened for HBV at an early prenatal visit during each pregnancy, even if they have been previously tested or vaccinated.
Other groups recommended for HBV screening include:
- Anyone seeking protection from the HBV infection
- Healthcare and public safety workers
- Household, sex, or needle-sharing contacts of persons infected with HBV
- Intravenous drug users
- Those with more than one sex partner
- Men who have sex with men
- Those infected with HIV and/or other sexually transmitted diseases
- Those with end-stage renal disease or chronic liver disease
- Travelers to regions where hepatitis B is common (Asia, Africa, South America, the Pacific Islands, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East)