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Help with Hep B results
Aug 31, 2004

Dear Doc,

I have recentlY been tested for Hep B and was given the following results

HBsAg DETECTED HBeAg NOT DETECTED Core Antibody DETECTED HBV DNA NOT DETECTED (including PCR)

All liver test results were NORMAL (alt 22 and AST 22). My doctor says this could be a case of inactive chronic Hep B and that I have cleared the virus and I am not infectious. My questions are:-

1. What is HBsAg and what does it mean when only it is DETECTED. Why is it there if I have cleared the virus?

2. Can this case turn from being inactive to active?

3. Could the HBsAg being in the process of being cleared?

Thanks a lot and I look forward to your clarifications.

Response from Dr. McGovern

Your doctor is correct by saying that you are an "inactive carrier". Hepatitis B surface antigen is a protein that is being expressed, but the whole virus is not being released into your bloodstream. Certain circumstances can cause your virus to become "reactivated" like when a patient goes on high dose steroids. Eventually your hepatitis B surface antigen may clear completely.

Your doctor will monitor your liver function tests and if they become elevated, then the activity of your virus will be reassessed. Dr. McGovern



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