Hepatitis B Surface Antibody Testing

Hepatitis B Surface antibody is one of the series of blood tests for hepatitis B virus infection. Hepatitis B virus testing monitor for components in the blood that indicate if a hepatitis B infectivity is ongoing or had taken place previously. The procedures for testing look for various indicators or markers for infection. Antigens are indicators caused by the presence of a virus or bacteria. Hence, the existence of hepatitis B virus antigens denotes that the virus is present inside the system of the human body. On the other hand, antibodies are actually proteins generated in the body to act against infection.

When hepatitis B virus antibodies are found to be present in the body such as the hepatitis B surface antibody, this would mean that the person had already been exposed to the virus. It is possible that this individual may have had the infection some time ago and recovered, or it is also possible that this person may have an ongoing infection. In addition, the DNA or genetic makeup of the hepatitis B virus indicates that the virus is inside the body. The amount of genetic material can aid in finding out the severity of the infection and how less difficult the hepatitis B virus can be communicated to others. It is imperative to determine the type of virus that causes the infection. This is in order to curtail the spread of the virus and be able to determine the appropriate treatment that can help the patient.

Tests for Hepatitis B virus

Hepatitis B virus is passed on by means of infected fluids that come from the body. These body fluids include semen, vaginal discharges and menstruation, and blood. The virus can also be passed on from the mother to her baby during or close to the time of birthing. There are a number of different testing procedures for hepatitis B virus. One of the most frequently done procedures for testing is Hepatitis B surface antibody or HBsAb.

Hepatitis B Surface Antibody Testing

Hepatitis B surface antibody typically becomes evident at approximately four weeks following the disappearance of the hepatitis B surface antibody. The existence of this antibody denotes that the infectivity is at the last part of the substance’s active phase. This denotes that the person cannot pass to other individuals the virus and he or she is not contagious anymore. This type of antibody provides protection so the person no longer can contract the hepatitis B virus in the future. The testing is performed to know if getting a vaccine is still necessary. The presence of the antibody will be noticeable after being administered with a series of hepatitis B virus vaccine.

This is an indication that the person has been immunized and is protected from the virus. Sometimes a test may provide a result that possibly may indicate that a person has both hepatitis B surface antigen and hepatitis B surface antibody. When this happens, it means that the person remains contagious and can pass the virus to other people.        

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by hepatitis B virus. When there is an infection, the liver turns out swollen and sensitive. It may also be observed to have inflammation. Parts of the tissues of the liver may be damaged because of the inflamed condition. Hepatitis is not a typical illness that merely goes away after medication. It is a serious disease and sometimes fatal enough to cause the life of an infected patient. It is also considered a sexually transmitted illness. Hepatitis B virus is found in the blood and when another person gets exposed to it he or she will be infected as well.

Significance of hepatitis B surface antibody test 

The existence of hepatitis B surface antibody in the body system indicates recuperation of the individual after an infection followed by immunity to the virus. The test is valuable when:

  • Assessing if vaccination for hepatitis B is necessary. It important to gauge the immunity of the person prior to vaccination among individuals who work in healthcare settings. They are high risk for getting exposed to hepatitis B. 
  • Assessing if hepatitis immune globulin is necessary following a needlestick injury.
  • Gauging a person’s immunity following a series of hepatitis B vaccination. This is to evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccine in a person.  

For the reason that hepatitis B infections can be passed on by means of sexual contact, people need to engage in safe sex until such time that the results of their tests are available. Hepatitis B virus tests are performed relating to:

  • Determining the type of hepatitis B virus infection. A test can find if an infection took place only recently or previously. Other testing procedures that demonstrate how well the liver performs are typically done to help out in making decisions in terms of treatment. 
  • Monitoring individuals who have increased risk of contracting or communicating hepatitis B infection that includes healthcare workers, dental professionals, and nurses. 
  • Monitoring people who donate blood as well as organs to avoid contagion of hepatitis B virus. 
  • Recognizing that a certain individual has existing antibodies after being vaccinated. The existence of hepatitis B virus antibodies is an indication that the vaccine administered was effective. 
  • Determining if atypical results of liver function testing were related to hepatitis B. 
  • Observing how effective or not chronic hepatitis B treatment is.

Prevalence of HBV infection

There are more than three hundred fifty million individuals around the world who are infected with the hepatitis B virus. This infectivity which affects five percent of the entire world population is evidently a serious public health predicament that needs to be addressed. A lot of patients who have chronic hepatitis B virus infection persist with presence of hepatitis B surface antigen in their body for more than six months. They have the possibility of developing very serious disease conditions such as cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, among others. According to the estimates publicly presented, thirty percent of these individuals will die due to the fatal ramifications of the infection.