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To know if you are immune or if you have a current hepatitis B infection, or which stage your chronic hepatitis B is at, you will need to have a blood test done.

Following is a summary of hepatitis B tests from SA Health.

Test What a positive result means
Hepatitis B surface antigen
  • Shows that the person has hepatitis B.
  • It can be detected during acute and chronic infection.
Hepatitis B surface antibody
(HBsAb or anti-HBs)
  • Shows that the person has developed immunity to hepatitis B.
  • It can be detected in people who have recovered from acute hepatitis B or been vaccinated against it.
Hepatitis B e antigen
  • Shows that hepatitis B virus is multiplying, and that it can be more easily passed on.
Hepatitis B e antibody
(HBeAb or anti-HBe)
  • Shows that the person’s immune system has responded to hepatitis B and in some circumstances that the virus is not actively replicating.
Hepatitis B core antibody
(HBcAb or anti-HBc)
  • Shows that a person has had hepatitis B.
  • Could indicate past or present infection.
  • (If someone has immunity through vaccination they will not test positive.)
Hepatitis B virus DNA (HBV DNA)
  • Measures the amount of hepatitis B virus in the bloodstream and indicates how actively the virus is multiplying.


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