Measures the total amount of antibodies that suggest infection or prior vaccination with the Hepatitis A virus.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL RESULTS AND INFORMATION PROVIDED BY HEALTH eLABS ARE INTENDED FOR GENERAL HEALTH INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. AS SUCH THEY ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR A MEDICAL EXAMINATION, AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, PREVENT OR CURE ANY DISEASE, SYNDROME, OR CONDITION WITHOUT THE SUPERVISION OF A LICENSED PHYSICIAN.
NOTE: This test should not be used to determine the cause of the acute liver disease known as hepatitis. For that testing, please visit our Acute Hepatitis panel page.
PREPARATION: No fasting or other special preparation is needed for this test.
What does this test do?
This test determines the total amount of antibodies to the Hepatitis A virus circulating in the bloodstream.
Why is this important?
Hepatitis is a general term that means inflammation of the liver. This condition can result from many different causes including excessive alcohol use, medications, chemicals, poisons, toxins, or by infection.
One of the organisms that can infect the liver and cause hepatitis is called Hepatitis A virus. This virus is transmitted through exposure to contaminated food or water, and from close contact with a person who is carrying the infection such as sharing household items like toothbrushes.
Although millions of people around the world are infected by Hepatitis A virus every year, its incidence in the U.S. is relatively low due to water treatment standards as well as the availability of a vaccine to the virus. Mild cases of hepatitis A don’t require any treatment except for supportive care, and most people who do become infected with Hepatitis A virus recover completely with no permanent liver damage.
Preventing infection is still the best way to avoid complications however, and practicing good hygiene (including washing your hands frequently) is one of the best ways to protect against contracting hepatitis A.
What do the results mean?
This test does not detect the Hepatitis A virus itself; rather it checks for the total amount of antibodies to Hepatitis A virus. As such, this test by itself cannot be used to distinguish between someone who has an active, ongoing infection and someone who has had Hepatitis A virus in the past. Likewise, the test does not provide any information about the duration of a particular Hepatitis A viral infection or the amount of liver damage – if any – that may have resulted.
A positive test means that your body is producing antibodies to the Hepatitis A virus. This can result either from an infection with the Hepatitis A virus, or in those who have been vaccinated against Hepatitis A virus in the past. If your test is positive for antibodies and you have never received a Hepatitis A vaccination, it is vital that you follow up with your physician to discuss what steps should be taken next, if any.
It is important to note that it may take some time after exposure to Hepatitis A virus for your body to generate antibodies to the virus. This means that even if your test result is negative, if you think you may have been recently exposed to the Hepatitis A virus then you should likewise follow up with your physician to discuss what steps should be taken next, if any.