Hepatitis B Test, Cost & Where to do Them

Hepatitis B Testing is used to detect the presence of the viral antigens or body’s antiboies to the virus. Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver by the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) that causes Inflammation (swelling) of liver cells. HBV is one of the hepatotropic viruses (that is, the viruses that like to attack the liver). Other examples are hepatitis A, C, D, E, yellow fever virus etc.

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In this discussion, we would be talking about How to Know if you have hepatitis B, how and where to test for Hepatitis B as well as the Cost of the Hepatitis test.

Table of Contents

How do I Know if I Have Hepatitis B?

You should suspect that you have the infection if you show any of the common symptoms of the disease, such as: Abdominal pain or discomfort, Dark discoloration of urine, Fever with temperatures of greater than 37.8 degrees, Joint pain, Loss of appetite, Nausea and vomiting, Excessive weakness, Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice) among other symptoms.

However, The diagnosis of hepatitis B is usually confirmed by doing a Hepatitis B Test.

What is the Hepatitis B Test?

The hepatitis B test detects the presence of the hepatitis antigens (viral particles) or antibodies (soldiers formed by the vody to fight the virus) in the blood. The Hepatitis test can help tell us if the person has a current active infection, or if he/she was previously exposed to HBV in the past, or has received the hepatitis vaccination.

Hepatitis B test

What does the Hepatitis B Test Results Mean?

A lot of antigens and antibodies are tested for in the hepatitis test, but in summary, If you have:

HBsAg Positive or Reactive: This is the presence of the antigen. What this means is that you have been infected with Hepatitis B virus but is is still at its inactive stage with low risk. Your doctor would counsel you to stay away from drugs like paracetamol, as they can damage your liver, as well as alcohol.
Anti-HBc IgM Positive or Reactive: This confirms the presence of the hepatitis B antibodies (the IgM type). It means that your body has produced the soldiers (antibodies) and they are actively trying to fight the infection. This fight might last for up to 6 months.

Anti-HBc IgG Positive or Reactive: The IgG type. This also means that your body is actively fighting the infection, but this time, the fight has lasted for longer than 6 months and the virus (infection) is still in your body.
Anti HBs Positive or Reactive: What this result mean is that your body has successfully fought and killed the virus, and removed it from your system. Hence, you are now protected from any any future infection of Hepatitis B. Or that, sometime in the past, you have been given hepatitis vaccine that is now protecting you from future infections.

HBeAb Positive or Reactive: This means that you have been infected with Hepatitis B in the past but cleared the part that makes the virus increase to very high amounts.
HBeAg Positive or Reactive: This means that you have Hepatitis B and it is still able to increase in large amount.
HBV DNA (high): This indicates that you have the Hepatitis B virus and it is in high amounts.

I know all these might be too much for you to understand. Do not worry, after you do the test, your doctor would explain them all to you.

Where Can i do a Hepatitis Test in Nigeria?

The Hepatitis B Test can be done in most medical laboratories in our tertiary hospitals as well as general and private hospitals across the country. It is a routine test in Blood transfusions and in Pregnancy during antenatal care. Simply walk into any hospital and let them know you would like to do a hepatitis test.

How much does the Hepatitis B Test cost?

The hepatitis B test cost just around N500 in most hospitals and laboratory facilities around the country. In fact, it is done free in a lot of outreaches and government health programmes. You can take advantage of those to have your tests done.

How Long does the Hepatitis B Test take?

The Hepatitis B Test does not take long for the results to be obtained. A blood sample is taken from you either with a syringe or a needle prick (this might hurt a little) and the syringe or needle is discarded. Your blood is now tested against the hepatitis testing reagents, and within 30 minutes to an hour, you would have your results.

What do i do After the Hepatitis B Test?

After receiving your hepatitis Test results, you should see your doctor. Depending on the results of the test, he would decide and counsel you on if you would need the Hepatitis vaccination or if you need Treatment.

Authors

  • Sct. Abel Chukwuebuka holds a B.MLS degree from the University of Nigeria, UNN in Enugu, Nigeria. He currently works at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Ituku-ozalla, Enugu state. He is a Public Health Enthusiast, a volunteer and a passionate Medical Laboratory Scientist.

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