Di­ag­no­sis

Wellness Update - - EXPLORE -

To di­ag­nose hep­ati­tis B the blood needs to be checked for the HB sur­face anti­gen (HB­sAg). The HBs anti­gen is a part of the virus and will usu­ally ap­pear in your blood six to twelve weeks af­ter in­fec­tion. If the test is pos­i­tive, you have hep­ati­tis B. In that case, your doc­tor should con­duct fur­ther tests to check if your hep­ati­tis B in­fec­tion is new or old, if it is harm­ing your body or not, and if you need treat­ment or not. If you have nat­u­rally cleared the virus, or if you have been vac­ci­nated against hep­ati­tis B, you will have an­ti­bod­ies to hep­ati­tis B (an­tiHBs). Your body made th­ese to de­stroy the virus. It is good to have anti-HBs, be­cause that means you are pro­tected against fu­ture in­fec­tion by the hep­ati­tis B virus. For hep­ati­tis C, your doc­tor will first check for HCV an­ti­bod­ies (anti-HCV). If the test is pos­i­tive, this means you ei­ther have the virus now, or have had the virus and cleared it. Hep­ati­tis C an­ti­bod­ies usu­ally take seven to nine weeks to ap­pear in your blood af­ter in­fec­tion. If your im­mune sys­tem is weak­ened (e.g. by HIV) your body may take longer to pro­duce HCV an­ti­bod­ies, or it may not pro­duce any at all. If the first test is pos­i­tive, your doc­tor will then test for the virus it­self (HCV RNA). If this is pos­i­tive, you have hep­ati­tis C. If you are di­ag­nosed with hep­ati­tis B or C you will face many chal­lenges, but it is bet­ter to con­front the disease head on, know how to avoid trans­mit­ting the in­fec­tion to oth­ers and con­sider your treat­ment op­tions and self-man­age­ment strate­gies as early as pos­si­ble. For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about whether you might be, or have been, at risk and how you can get tested, please con­tact your lo­cal pa­tient group, who will be able to pro­vide you with the in­for­ma­tion that you need.

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