Hepatitis testing is required to detect this disease and determine which type you may have:
Hepatitis B (HBV)
HBV is a viral disease that attacks the liver. HBV may result in lifelong infection, liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, and even death. Almost one-third of infected persons exhibit symptoms. Common HBV symptoms include joint pain, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, fatigue, and jaundice.
Hepatitis C (HCV)
HCV is viral liver disease caused by the Hepatitis C virus. Studies indicate around 80% of those with HCV exhibit symptoms. Similar to HBV, some symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, dark urine, fatigue, and jaundice.
Hepatitis B (HBV) Test
A blood test is performed to detect the surface antigen for an HBV infection.
Hepatitis C (HCV) Test
A blood test is performed to test for the antibodies the immune system produces in response to the HCV virus.
If the HCV antibody test is positive, a RIBA test is performed to confirm the antibody presence.
Symptoms of Hepatitis
You can be infected with HBV and exhibit no symptoms at all. You could be spreading the virus and not know it.
Symptoms can include:
- yellowing of the whites of your eyes or yellow skin (jaundice)
- loss of appetite
- dark urine
- grey-colored stools
- abdominal discomfort
- joint pain
When first infected with HBV, a person has an acute infection.
During an acute infection, the person may not show any symptoms. Others may have some or some mild flu-type symptoms. In rare cases, severe symptoms have occurred which required medical attention like joint pain, cutaneous eruption, abdominal pain, or jaundice.
An acute infection may last up to six month. During this time, a person can pass the HBV to others. Almost 90 percent of adults recover from the HBV acute stage after a couple of months because they acquire immunity to the virus. These same people will not end up developing “chronic” hepatitis. If the person had any symptoms present, these symptoms will dissipate and the virus can no longer be transmitted to others. The infection will harbor no long-term effects for these people.
However, the other 10% of adults may be unable to fight HBV, and will develop chronic hepatitis. “Chronic” hepatitis is a long-term liver infection (when the infection lasts longer than six months). These people are “chronic carriers” and can pass HBV to others indefinitely.
If you have experienced any symptoms of Hepatitis, or have had sexual contact with anyone who might be infected, Hepatitis testing is highly recommended.