The Hepatitis B Surface Antigen Test (HBsAg test) is a blood test that detects the presence of the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) surface antigen in the blood. HBV has proteins called antigens on its surface that cause the immune system to make antibodies. HBsAg can be found in the blood within several weeks after the infection and is an early sign of an acute infection. The test is used to find out whether a person has a recent or long-standing infection from the Hepatitis B virus.
Indications of the Test
The test is indicated for individuals who are suspected of having a Hepatitis B infection or who have been exposed to the virus. It is also used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment for Hepatitis B and to determine if a person has developed immunity to the virus after receiving the Hepatitis B vaccine.
No special preparation is required for the test. However, individuals should inform their healthcare provider of any medications they are taking, as some medications can affect the test results.
Typical Reference Values
A negative HBsAg test result means that the person is not infected with Hepatitis B. A positive or reactive HBsAg test result means that the person is infected with Hepatitis B and can spread the virus to others. The presence of HBsAg indicates that the person is infectious, except when it might be transiently positive within 30 days after a dose of Hepatitis B vaccine
The turnaround time for the HBsAg test varies depending on the laboratory performing the test. Typically, results are available within a few days to a week.
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