Hepatitis B or HBV is a dangerous disease that is caused by a virus. Various tests are available for it and they work generally on two principles. The first principle is to directly detect the presence of virus in the body. The second principle is to identify the reaction of the body to the virus attack and then judge the severity of virus from that inference. Many a time, you have to undergo tests that depend on both the principles. There are basically 3 tests that are performed to ascertain the presence of Hepatitis B virus. Let’s discuss each of them one by one.
1. Anti HBc Test: This test basically deals with the body’s reaction to the protein that is present in the virus. The proteins are the integral part of any virus and the protein that is detected in this test is the ‘core’ protein of the virus. A positive result shows that the rate of infection is very severe. It also indicates a chronic condition of this disease. Another indication is that you need to keep yourself separate from other people as they can also be infected-such is the seriousness of the disease.
2. Anti HBs Test: This test deals with the reaction of the body to the surface protein of the virus. If the result is positive, it implies that you don’t need to fear from this disease as your body is immune to the HBV virus. This immunity can be because of two reasons. Either you have been infected with Hepatitis B previously and have survived it, or you have been immunized against this disease. This test also indicates that even if the virus enters your body, other people don’t need to feel afraid as the virus cannot pass onto them.
3. Antigen Test: This test actually looks out for the presence of virus in the body. A positive result indicates strong infection that can pass onto other people. This test is usually done two times. Once for diagnosis of the disease and secondly after the treatment is over. If the patient has been cured, the test ought to come out negative, signaling the absence of virus in the body.
If your Anti HBs test comes positive and afterwards the Anti HBc test is also positive, a previous infection is indicated. If chronic infection has been detected in the body with the help of these three tests, various kinds of further procedures/tests may be followed by your doctor to help him watch the advancement of the disease. These later tests are also helpful in treating the disease in the most accurate way.