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Understanding the Results of Your Blood Tests

The interpretation of each individual's results should receive expert evaluation. Unusual results do occur and the chart below is simply an "average" representing the most likely interpretation. It is not intended as personal medical advice. All individuals are strongly encouraged to consult their own health care provider to evaluate their blood test results.

Tests Results Interpretation Recommendation
HBsAg negative Not immune - has not been infected, but is still at risk for possible future infection. Needs protection. Get the vaccine.
HBsAb (anti-HBs) negative
HBcAb (anti-HBc) negative
HBsAg negative Immune - surface antibodies present. You may have been already vaccinated, or you have recovered from a prior hepatitis B infection. You cannot infect others. The vaccine is not needed.
HBsAb (anti-HBs) positive
HBcAb (anti-HBc) negative or positive
HBsAg positive New infection or a chronic infection - positive surface antigen, which means hepatitis B virus is present. You can spread the virus to others. Find a doctor who is knowledgeable about hepatitis B for further evaluation.
HBsAb (anti-HBs) negative
HBcAb (anti-HBc) negative or positive
HBsAg negative *Unclear- Several different interpretations are possible. You may need to have these tests repeated. See below. The vaccine may or may not be needed. Find a doctor who is knowledgeable about hepatitis B for further evaluation.
HBsAb (anti-HBs) negative
HBcAb (anti-HBc)* positive

*Positive Hepatitis B Core-Antibody Test Result (HBcAB+)
1. May be recovering from acute hepatitis B infection
2. May be distantly immune and test is not sensitive enough to detect low level of HBsAb (or anti-HBs) in serum
3. May be susceptible with a false positive HBcAb or anti-HBc
4. May be undetectable level of HBsAg present in the serum and the person is actually chronically infected


Page last reviewed March 2014


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