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Hope You Will Answer This Time - Need Help Understanding MY Hep B Labs
Dec 21, 2008

Hello, Dr. McGovern:

I need help understanding my lab work. I was diagnosed an inactive carrier of Hep B a couple of years ago. My current lab work from three weeks ago is as follows:

HEPATITIS B SURFACE AB, QUAL NON-REACTIVE NON-REACTIVE HEPATITIS B CORE AB, TOTAL NON-REACTIVE NON-REACTIVE HEPATITIS B E AB Low: NONREACTIVE NONREACTIVE HEPATITIS B VIRAL DNA, IU/ML Low: <100 IU/mL <100.00 HEPATITIS B VIRAL DNA, COPIES/ML Low: <160 * copies/mL <160 HEPATITIS B SURFACE AG NON-REACTIVE REACTIVE (A) HEPATITIS B E AG Low: NONREACTIVE NONREACTIVE

1) If the E antigen is negative, how is it that the surface antigen is still positive?

2) The only result that is positive is surface antigen. Does this mean I have more of a chance to clear the virus completely if all other tests are negative, including DNA?

I'm so very confused by this disease. Have never been able to get a grasp on it and could really use your help.

Thanks so much for your time.

Response from Dr. McGovern

You are not the only one who is confused. These diagnostic tests lead to a lot of confusion even among health care providers.

However, the good news is that I suspect you may be on your way to seroconversion (eg, your HBeAb will become reactive). The loss of HBeAg often comes before the gain of HBeAntibody. The non-detectable viral load is supportive of this. You will still be called an inactive carrier and should have regular six month monitoring to be certain your disease stays inactive.



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