This test is used to screen for infection with the Hepatitis B (Hep B) virus. The Surface Antigen test looks for a protein which is present on the surface of the virus. This protein will be present in the blood with an acute or chronic Hep B infection. Because it has a fairly early detection window, the Surface Antigen Test is often ordered by people who believe they have had a recent exposure. This test can detect the presence of Hepatitis B in chronic or long-term infections even if the person has no symptoms.
Hepatitis B is a viral liver infection which is spread through exposure to infected blood or bodily fluids. It is the most common cause of acute viral Hepatitis. Hepatitis B infections often show no symptoms but when symptoms do occur they are often described as flu-like. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, joint pain, fatigue, jaundice, and dark colored urine. Chronic Hep B infections can cause serious health complications like Cirrhosis and Liver Cancer.
The Surface Antigen test is the most commonly ordered screening for Hepatitis B. This test may be ordered because a person believes they are experiencing symptoms, or is simply concerned that they have had a recent or past exposure. In some cases this test is ordered by people who have had irregular levels from tests such as the ALT or AST. Someone who is concerned they have had an exposure which may be too recent for a Surface Antigen test to detect may also order a Hepatitis B PCR Qualitative or Hepatitis B PCR Quantitative test. These can both detect viral genetic material as early as a few weeks after exposure.
Turnaround time for the Hepatitis B Surface Antigen test is typically 1 business day.
Note: Result turn around times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. Our reference lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.
For the majority of people, this test will have the highest level of accuracy at 12 weeks from an exposure or any time after. Some people may be detectable as early as 4 weeks from exposure.
This Hepatitis B testing does not have any special requirements.
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