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  • About this test

    Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver that is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B antibodies are produced in response to an infection and can help to identify a person who has a current active infection, was exposed to HBV in the past, or has immunity due vaccination. This test measures the antibody response or level to HBV either obtained through natural infection or vaccination.

    Hepatitis is a disease that cause inflammation and enlargement of the liver. There are many viruses where Hepatitis A, B and C are the most common. Hepatitis A is transmitted via faecal oral route and through contaminated food where Hepatitis B and C are known as bloodborne viruses that are transmitted via body fluids from an infected person. Exposure can occur through needle sharing during IV drug use or unprotected sex. People who live in or travel to areas where hepatitis B virus is prevalent are at a greater risk and requires to assess their immunity prior to travel with subsequent vaccination when required. Infected mothers can pass the virus to their babies during or after birth. Effective vaccine for HBV is available. Immunity wanes after time and a booster vaccine is recommended every 5 years for high risk individuals including healthcare workers, travellers and sex workers.

    Who is this test for?

    To screen for immunity to Hepatitis B virus in the following cases:

    • Unknown if you have been vaccinated or to monitor the response to a vaccine
    • If you need to get the vaccine or a "booster"
    • If your work requires you to be vaccinated against hepatitis B virus
    • High contact sport participants where physical blood exposure may occur
    • High risk sexual behaviour

    The test is not used to make a diagnosis but only to look for immunity.