Getting tested for hepatitis B is the only way to know if someone is infected with the virus. Our doctors recommend the hepatitis B Surface Antigen with Confirmation by Neutralization Assay test. This test searches your blood for the hepatitis B antigen and can differentiate between acute (new) and chronic (long- term) infections. Also, the test can detect if you have been vaccinated and are, therefore, immune to the hepatitis B virus.
In acute hepatitis B cases, symptoms usually appear 3 months after exposure to the virus, but can delay as much as 6 weeks to 6 months post-exposure. If you show symptoms to the hepatitis B virus or are concerned about a recent exposure, taking a blood test is the best way to know if you are infected. Although hepatitis B can be detected as early as 3 weeks after exposure, our doctors recommend waiting 6 weeks to get tested.
Acute hepatitis B symptoms can mimic flu-like symptoms that may show up anytime from 6 weeks to 6 months after exposure. Symptoms include unusual feelings of tiredness, lack of hunger, vomiting, stomach aches, fever and joint pain. Additional hepatitis B symptoms can include clay-colored bowel movements or yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice).