|Hep B surface antibody
Jan 31, 2002
My client currently is aware that a sexual partner of his tested positive for the Hep B surface antibody. This test was done shortly after his last encounter with her.
Is he at risk of being infected with Hep B, or is the presence of the antibody indicative of not not being active?
Response from Dr. Fried
The presence of hepatitis B surface antibody indicates immunity to hepatitis B and DOES NOT indicate chronic infection. Maybe the partner had the vaccine, for example, and of course would not be infectious. In very, very rare circumstances in chronic HBV, there can be a non-protective anti-HBs associated with HB surface antigen, the marker for chronic infection. The only absolute way to be sure the partner was not infected would be to know the HB surface antigen status. Keep in mind that the incubation period for HBV can be quite long, up to 6 months. Could his partner have exposed him during that time and then cleared the virus? Maybe. However, more than likely your client was not exposed to HBV.
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