Test Detail
Interpreting Results

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Written by
Dr. Betina Chandolia
BDS, MDS - Oral Pathology and Microbiology
Reviewed by
Dr. Ashish Ranjan
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
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Hepatitis B s (Surface) Antibody

Hepatitis B s (Surface) Antibody
You need to provide
This test is for
Male, Female
Test Preparation
  1. No special preparation required


What is HBsAb?

The Hepatitis B s (Surface) Antibody test is done to primarily screen and diagnose acute or chronic hepatitis B virus infection. It is also done to detect previously resolved hepatitis B infection and to monitor the treatment of hepatitis B infection.

Why is HBsAb done?

The Hepatitis B s (Surface) Antibody test is done:

  • When there are risk factors for Hepatitis B virus infection 

  • In case of signs and symptoms of hepatitis, such as jaundice and unexplained high levels of alanine aminotransferase 

  • In patients who are on chemotherapy treatment

  • In case of intake of medicines which cause immunosuppression 

  • In case of ongoing treatment for Hepatitis B

  • In case the doctor wants to give you a Hepatitis B vaccine

What does HBsAb Measure?

The Hepatitis Bs (Surface) Antibody test measures the antibodies that are produced against the hepatitis B virus infection. Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis is characterized by inflammation which can also cause enlargement of the liver. HBV is one of the five viruses of hepatitis. The other hepatitis viruses types include hepatitis type A, C, D, and E. The hepatitis B virus spreads via contact with blood or other body fluids from the person who has already been infected. The exposure to hepatitis can occur through sharing of needles for intravenous drug use or by having unprotected sex. Traveling to areas where hepatitis B is prevalent can also cause risk to a person of getting infected through the hepatitis virus. In addition to that, if a mother is infected from the hepatitis virus then there are chances that the infection can be transmitted to the babies during or after birth. However, this virus does not get spread by casual contact such as holding hands, coughing, or sneezing.  

The hepatitis virus has the capability of surviving outside the body for up to seven days such as in dried blood or in items such as razors or toothbrushes of an infected person. Thus, sharing of these items should be avoided.

The HBV infections might show a mild form which lasts for a few weeks but in some cases the infection can develop into a serious chronic form which can last for years. There can be serious complications of chronic HBV such as cirrhosis or liver cancer. The various stages of hepatitis B include acute infection, chronic infection, carrier state, resolved or inactive infection, and reactivation.

In case of acute infection, the body shows presence of typical signs and symptoms with a positive HBV test.

In case of chronic infection, there is persistent infection with inflammation of liver. In such case the virus can be detected by laboratory tests. 

In carrier state, there is no liver inflammation but there is a persistent infection which can be determined by HBV test.

In resolved or inactive infection, there is no evidence of infection, viral antigen and DNA tests are negative, and there are no signs or symptoms of liver infection.

In reactivation form, there is return of HBV infection with liver damage in a person who had carrier or resolved or inactive infection. It commonly occurs in patients treated for cancer with chemotherapy treatment or taking immunosuppressive drugs which have been used to treat autoimmune diseases or following an organ transplant. It can also be seen in patients undergoing treatment for hepatitis C who have been exposed to HBV in the past.

Interpreting HBsAb results


Result (Index)

Hepatitis Be Antibody

< 1.00


> = 1.00


Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about HBsAb

Frequently Asked Questions about Hepatitis B s (Surface) Antibody

Q. How is Hepatitis B virus transmitted?
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is a member of the Hepadnavirus family. It is transmitted primarily by body fluids, especially serum. It can also be transmitted by sexual transmission or from mother to baby. Majority of the infected individuals recover completely. Whereas, around 1-2% have persistent viral replication leading to chronic hepatitis. The frequency of developing a chronic HBV infection in immunocompromised patients is around 5-10% while in neonates it reaches 80%.
Q. What are the symptoms of Hepatitis B?
The symptoms of acute Hepatitis B may not be apparent for months after exposure to HBV. However, the most common symptoms are fatigue (weakness), muscle and joint pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, fever, abdominal discomfort, and yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin (jaundice).
Q. How is the blood sample taken?
The healthcare provider takes a blood sample from the arm. The site from where the blood is to be withdrawn is cleaned with a swab of rubbing alcohol. This is then followed by inserting a small needle which has a tube attached to it for collecting blood. Once the sufficient blood for analysis is withdrawn, the needle is removed. The site is then covered with a gauze pad.
Q. Is there any risk associated with the withdrawal of blood sample procedure?
As such there is no risk but in few cases, bruising, bleeding, and infection at the puncture site can be seen. In very few cases, there can be swelling of the vein after the blood is withdrawn.
Q. Can Hepatitis B be spread through food or water?
No, Hepatitis B virus does not spread through food or water, sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, handholding, coughing, or sneezing.
Q. What are the chances that acute Hepatitis infection will develop into a chronic infection?
The chances of acute Hepatitis infection getting developed into a chronic infection depends on the age of the person infected. The chances of developing a chronic infection are comparatively high if a person gets infected at a young age. The chances are even higher for infected infants, as the rate of developing infection may go up to 90%. However, the risk goes down as a child gets older. Approximately 25%–50% of the children infected between the ages of 1 and 5 years will develop chronic Hepatitis B. On the contrary, about 95% of adults recover completely and do not become chronically infected.
Q. How long does the Hepatitis B virus survive outside the body?
The hepatitis virus has the capability of surviving outside the body for up to seven days. In fact, this virus remains capable of causing infection even during that time.
Q. How can Hepatitis B be prevented?
Hepatitis B can be best prevented by vaccination. The Hepatitis B vaccine is safe and effective and should be given in three doses for full protection (at 0, 1, and 6 months).
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