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Please explain the terminology
Aug 2, 2001

Dear Doctor Douglas,

My Doctor recently conducted a Hep B panel and said he got confusing results and would like me to retake the test in a month. He only told me that I have HBsAg positive and IgG positive, negative for Surface Antigens and Negative for IgM. I do not understand the terminology and I didn't feel confident that he was sure of the results either, or I got the impression he didn't want to scare me by saying I was a chronic carrier. What is your opinion to these results? I would greatly appreciate your insight.

Thanks from worried.

Response from Dr. Dieterich

Hepatitis B testing confuses a lot of doctors as well as patients. If the IgM was negative, it means you don't have the acute infection. The other results are contradictory. In general the asymptomatic carrier will have Surface antigen, no Surface antibody. The e antigen should be negative and the e antibody positive and HBV DNA negative. The bottom line here is the virus, so if you are confused ask for HBV DNA by PCR. If it is over 250,000 copies, then you have active hepatitis B. Good luck! DTD

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