Hepatitis B serologic testing involves measurement of several hepatitis B
virus (HBV)-specific antigens and antibodies. To understand the result, you’ll need to know the definition of the markers in the first place.
Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)
HBsAg is a protein on the surface of hepatitis B virus. It can be detected in high levels in serum during acute or chronic hepatitis B virus infection. The presence of HBsAg indicates that the person is infectious. HBsAg is the antigen used to make hepatitis B vaccine.
Hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs)
The presence of anti-HBs is generally interpreted as indicating recovery and immunity from hepatitis B virus infection. Anti-HBs also develops in a person who has been successfully vaccinated against hepatitis B.
Total hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc)
Appears at the onset of symptoms in acute hepatitis B and persists for life. The presence of anti-HBc indicates previous or ongoing infection with hepatitis B virus in an undefined time frame.
IgM antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (IgM anti-HBc)
Positivity indicates recent infection with hepatitis B virus (<6 mos). Its presence indicates acute infection.
Different combination of markers