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Hepatitis B tests involve a blood sample collection. People can purchase a test in person or get one from an online company. Companies that sell tests offer instructions and tools a person will need for testing.

This article describes what hepatitis B is and the different types of blood tests available. It also explores some products available for purchase and frequently asked questions about hepatitis B testing.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Hepatitis B is a liver infection that develops when a person contracts the hepatitis B virus (HBV) through blood, semen, or another bodily fluid.

This can happen when people share needles, syringes, or other drug injection devices or during sexual activity. People can also pass the virus to their baby during childbirth.

Hepatitis B is not curable, but a vaccine can prevent the infection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain that not all people with hepatitis B have symptoms. However, those who do may experience:

Those who have long-term hepatitis B can develop liver cancer or cirrhosis.

There are three types of blood tests for hepatitis B:

Hepatitis B surface antigen test

This test checks whether a person has contracted the virus. A positive result indicates that they have hepatitis B and can spread it to others.

Further testing will be necessary to determine whether the HBV infection is acute or chronic.

According to the CDC, people under the age of 6 who test positive for hepatitis B are more likely to develop a chronic infection. In contrast, those who are older may recover completely.

A person who does not have the virus will receive a negative result.

Hepatitis B surface antibody test

This test checks whether a person is immune to HBV or whether the body has developed resistance to the virus.

Those who are immune to hepatitis B receive a positive result. A positive result may indicate that the person is vaccinated or is recovering from acute hepatitis B.

According to the Hepatitis B Foundation (HBF), people who are immune to HBV cannot contract the virus from other people or contaminated areas and therefore cannot spread HBV to others.

Hepatitis B core antibody test

This test checks whether a person currently has HBV or had it in the past. A positive result means that they have a current or past infection. It can also mean that they are recovering from acute hepatitis B.

Those who receive a positive result should contact a doctor to check the status of their hepatitis B infection.

The CDC recommends people should seek out HBV screening if they:

  • are living with HIV
  • have end stage renal disease
  • are pregnant
  • need immunosuppressive therapy
  • use injection drugs
  • are male and have sex with other males
  • have sex with individuals living with HBV
  • share a household with someone living with HBV
  • come from a region with a high incidence of HBV

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.

LetsGetChecked Hepatitis B & C Test

This product requires finger prick blood collection, and it tests for hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

People can pay a one-time purchase fee or sign up for a subscription plan for regular testing.

Those who purchase this product receive the tools they need for testing. LetsGetChecked recommends that individuals use this test before 10 a.m. It also warns people against having sex if they think they have hepatitis B or C.

Once a person collects their samples, they can mail them to the company’s laboratory on the same day.

LetsGetChecked states that its laboratories have a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certification. This means that it has obtained federal certifications. The company is also part of the College of American Pathologists program.

People should receive their results within 2–5 days. Additionally, they can contact a LetsGetChecked nurse at any time to discuss their results.

Pros and cons

LetsGetChecked tests come with pros and cons.

Some pros include:

  • instructions and tools for testing
  • an instructional video available on the company website
  • fast results
  • subscription plan for regular tests

Some cons include:

  • potential for user error or inaccurate results
  • only available for those aged 18 years and older
  • no test available for hepatitis B only

myLAB Box At Home Hepatitis B Test

This hepatitis B test kit is registered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It involves a finger prick collection and comes with free 2-day shipping. myLAB Box claims that a person can perform this test in 5 minutes.

Once people collect their sample and mail it to myLAB Box lab, they should receive their results within 2–5 days.

Free consultations are available for those who receive a positive result.

Pros and cons

Some advantages of this test include fast lab results and free consultations if the result is positive.

However, the company does not accept health insurance. Also, there is potential for user error or inaccurate results.

HealthLabs Hepatitis A, B & C Panel

This kit screens people for hepatitis A, B, and C.

HealthLabs recommends it for individuals who have symptoms of liver disease, such as:

The company works with CLIA-certified labs, and people should receive their test results within 1–2 days.

Pros and cons

Pros include:

  • helpful suggestions for complimentary tests
  • consultations to discuss results
  • over 4,500 testing centers in the United States

There are, however, limited lab locations in rural areas, and the company charges a 20% fee for order cancellations.

People can get a hepatitis B test at a doctor’s office, community health clinic, or community health department. Doctors may ask about a person’s family history of hepatitis B or liver disease and any possible exposures.

According to Planned Parenthood, people should tell a doctor if they want to get a test for hepatitis B or other sexually transmitted infections.

Some frequently asked questions about hepatitis B testing include the following:

How long after hepatitis B exposure should you take a test?

People who think they may have come into contact with HBV and who are not vaccinated should contact a doctor within 24 hours to get post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment.

PEP treatment for hepatitis B can consist of the hepatitis B vaccine, an injection of hepatitis B immune globulin, which contains antibodies against HBV, or both.

The HBF states that it can take up to 9 weeks for HBV to show up in the bloodstream. The organization recommends that individuals who have never received PEP treatment get tested 9 weeks after exposure.

If the result is negative, a doctor may recommend the completion of the hepatitis B vaccine series.

Are hepatitis B tests accurate?

According to the FDA, home tests can help detect health conditions when people do not have symptoms. However, at-home testing should not replace a doctor’s visit.

Individuals should also purchase tests from companies that collaborate with CLIA-certified labs. This ensures that manufacturers regulate laboratory testing.

The HBF suggests that people get a printed copy of their blood test results so they can discuss them with a doctor and learn more about the condition.

When should people contact a doctor?

People should contact a doctor if they have symptoms of hepatitis B. They should also seek medical help if they want to purchase a hepatitis B test, as doctors can help them choose the right test for their condition.

A doctor’s consultation may also be beneficial to discuss test results. A medical professional may provide a treatment plan or further testing, depending on the person’s condition and test results.

Hepatitis B tests help determine whether a person has hepatitis B or whether their body is immune to the virus.

There are various online companies that sell these types of tests. A person should contact a doctor if they have hepatitis B symptoms or have come into contact with HBV.