Hepatitis refers to liver inflammation, which can affect its overall function. Substances such as toxins, heavy alcohol usage, and medical conditions can all cause hepatitis. However, often it’s due to a virus.
Hepatitis B is an incurable liver infection caused by the Hepatitis B virus, or HBV. Around two billion people have been infected and 300 million have chronic hepatitis B. It’s important to get tested to know for certain if you’ve been infected because most people don’t have symptoms and it can progress into liver cancer if left untreated, leading to its nickname of “the silent epidemic.”
HBV consists of a protein core surrounded by a protein envelope. Your body can produce antibodies in response to each of these antigens.
The surface protein envelope is made of a protein, which is known as the hepatitis B surface antigen, with different sizes of projections or spikes. A blood test for this antigen can detect a new, acute infection. In response to the surface antigen, your immune system produces hepatitis B surface antibodies. Tests for the surface antibodies can show if there’s recovery or immunity from re-infection.
The inner protein core is known as the hepatitis B core antigen. If you have had an HBV infection in the past, your immune system produced hepatitis B core antibodies that circulate in your blood. Blood tests for the core antibodies can show infection or immunity status.
Tests for the surface and core antibodies can be used to identify the different phases of the HBV infection and help with monitoring drug treatment.
At ARCpoint Labs of The Woodlands, our comprehensive and standard STD panels target these hepatitis B antigens and antibodies through the use of a blood draw and/or urine collection.
Schedule an appointment at ARCpoint Labs of The Woodlands today to learn more about HBV and which test is beneficial for you.