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HEPATITIS B

Frequently Asked Questions

Does hepatitis B testing use blood or urine?

Our hepatitis B test is a blood test. Our laboratory technicians will draw a small sample during your visit to the test center.

What do I need to do to prepare for the test?

Hepatitis B tests do not require any kind of preparation. No fasting is necessary.

When is the right time to test for hepatitis B?

Although it is possible to detect hepatitis B as early as 3 weeks after infection, our doctors recommend waiting at least 6 weeks to test for accurate results. Because hepatitis B does not often show symptoms, most people are unaware that they have the infection. When symptoms do appear, they do so from 6 weeks to 6 months after initial infection. Half of adults infected with hepatitis B do not show symptoms, while the rest may experience extreme tiredness, tenderness and pain in the lower abdomen, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, pain in the joints, headache, fever and hives. Consider getting tested if you have most of these symptoms or have had contact with someone who has chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection.

What will the test results say?

If your result is negative, it means there is no sign of hepatitis B in your blood. If positive, hepatitis B was found and our doctors are available to speak with you to discuss your test results or answer any questions you may have about your test.

Can hepatitis B be cured or treated?

While there is no cure for hepatitis B, most (about 90%) of adults with an acute HBV infection will clear the virus from their systems without the need for medication. If you have tested positive for hepatitis B for longer than six months, you have a chronic infection and should make an appointment with a local physician. Once the status of your infection has been determined, you can begin treatment to slow the progression of the virus and prevent extensive damage to your liver. Most people with a chronic hepatitis B still live long, healthy lives.

Who needs hepatitis B testing?

Hepatitis B is a highly contagious disease that affects both men and women. Testing for the disease is recommended for those who are at risk of coming in contact with the virus. This includes anyone who has used or shared needles during intravenous drug use, had unprotected sex or lives with an infected partner. Consider hepatitis B testing as part of routine STD screening, especially if you have had unprotected sex with someone whose STD status you do not know or are concerned about.