Hepatitis B Testing in Singapore: Hepatitis B is a virus that causes liver damage. It’s acquired through needles and sex. A vaccine and treatment are both available, though there’s no cure.
Hepatitis B is diagnosed by a blood test. The test looks for certain proteins that are part of the virus, and also for antibodies to these viral proteins. (Antibodies are made by your immune system in response to an infection; they cover the invading organism and cause it to be removed from the body.)
The appearance of the proteins in the blood follows a fairly predictable course, with certain viral proteins appearing early in the infection and then later disappearing, and other proteins appearing later. In this way, doctors can tell whether the infection occurred recently, or longer ago. If you have viral proteins in your blood that indicate a recent infection, then your doctors will do follow-up blood tests over the next several months, to see whether your body is able to clear the infection, or whether it will become chronic.
If someone has no viral proteins in their blood, but does have antibodies against hepatitis B, that means that they’ve cleared the infection and acquired immunity to the virus, which is likely to be lifelong.
If someone has chronic hepatitis B, then blood tests will be done periodically to determine how well the liver is functioning. This includes a panel of several tests, to get a complete picture of the liver’s ability to perform its normal bodily functions.