What is an HBV test?
Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The virus is commonly passed through sexual contact, sharing needles, and pregnancy (mothers passing the virus to unborn children). Hepatitis B will usually be cleared from the body within 6 months of infection, but individuals with weakened immune systems may experience a chronic infection that can lead to liver scarring and cancer.
The hepatitis B test is a routine blood test that checks the blood for the presence of the HBV virus. This test may be ordered if you are exhibiting signs or symptoms of liver damage. Additionally, an HBV test may be recommended if you are healthy, but at risk of contracting HBV. HBV screening tests are recommended for the following individuals:
- Pregnant women
- People who are living with someone who has been infected with HBV
- Men who have sex with men
- People who have multiple sexual partners
- People who have been previously diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection
- People who have been diagnosed with hepatitis C or HIV
- People who use IV drugs
- People with liver disease
- People over the age of 60 with diabetes
- People who have traveled from countries where hepatitis B is common
The CDC estimates that nearly 1.4 million Americans have been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B. About 3,000 Americans die from the infection every year. If you suspect that you may have been exposed to the HBV virus, contact your health care provider right away.