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oo confused with test options and window periods!! Please help!!
Jul 4, 2007

Dr. Dietrich / Dr. McGovern:

I may have been exposed to HBV 4 and a half weeks ago. I've been surfing the web, as well as your forums. The CDC says in its site, that HBsAg test will turn positive in, at the most, 90 days post-exposure. I have seen here that window period is 140 days, or 180 days. Is that for antibodies or for the surface antigen? Also, I have read that the surface antigen can be detected in most people by week 4, that means what percentage of people? How reliable is it for me to have a PCR test at this time? Would it be reliable? How much? What is a good testing alternative that could alleviate my worries a little before I can get a definitive and conclusive test?

Response from Dr. McGovern

Any numbers you read are just estimates but I consider the CDC numbers very accurate - in about 90 days the surface antigen turns positive in the vast majority of people. Of course, there are always "outliers".

I would recommend testing at three months and then stop.

I would also recommend getting HBV vaccine so you don't have to worry about this in the future.

hep b

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