Hepatitis B Immunity Test
The hepatitis B immunity test kit uses a drop of blood from a finger prick to determine your immunity to hepatitis B. You could be immune to hepatitis B because you have had a course of vaccinations, or because you have been exposed to the disease in the past. Once a laboratory has received your blood sample, your result will be available within 2- 3 days.
Fill in our short form to buy your hepatitis B immunity test online. We’re a UK-based pharmacy, registered with the GPhC. All orders for test kits are shipped by next-day tracked courier.
The hepatitis B immunity test kit screen for hepatitis B antibodies in your body, to establish whether you have immunity to the virus. You can test from home yourself, or a doctor or nurse can perform the test for you, if you would prefer.
Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver triggered by the hepatitis B (HBV) virus. It is spread through contact with infected blood or bodily fluids, and causes the liver to become inflamed and enlarged.
The virus can be transmitted in the following ways: from a mother to her newborn baby, especially in parts of the world where the condition is prevalent; through the injection of drugs and sharing needles, spoons or filters with someone who is infected; via unprotected sex with someone who has the virus; getting a tattoo or a piercing, or dental or medical care, in an unsanitary environment, and where equipment has not been sterilised; receiving a blood transfusion where blood is not checked for the virus; sharing toothbrushes or razors containing infected blood; via skin puncture with a used needle by mistake (usually more of a concern for people operating in healthcare environments); through infected blood coming into contact with an open wound, cut or scratch.
Most adults (around 95%) fight off the virus between 1 and 3 months after exposure to it (acute hepatitis B) but 90% of babies and 20% of children become chronically infected. For those unable to clear the virus, treatment can be effective, but there is a risk of severe, long-term repercussions.
Not everyone develops symptoms, but where there are indications, they typically manifest 2-3 months following exposure, and may include: lethargy, aches and pains in general, a high temperature, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, the skin and eyes turning a yellow colour (jaundice), diarrhoea and a reduced appetite.
In cases of acute hepatitis B, symptoms usually disappear within 1-3 months, and rarely lead to any complications. If symptoms persist for 6 months or longer however, the infection is considered chronic. Chronic symptoms are often fairly mild in nature and may come and go, and some people with chronic hepatitis B may not have any whatsoever.
In terms of treatment, acute hepatitis B does not always need treatment, but it is an important diagnosis for you to have to help protect those around you. If you get hepatitis B, your doctor may just advise you to rest, take painkillers (paracetamol and ibuprofen) and recommend measures to relieve itching, which can affect some people. Refraining from hot baths or showers, and using chlorphenamine, can help with this. Medication such as metoclopramide can also relieve nausea. Chlorphenamine and metoclopramide are available on prescription from your clinician if required.
Additionally, regular blood tests are advised, to monitor your body’s progress in clearing the virus, and to ensure that you have not developed chronic hepatitis B.
Treatment for the virus on a chronic basis may depend on how successfully your body’s immune system is managing the condition, and whether there are signs of ongoing damage to the liver. While medication can help to regulate the infection and prevent it from harming the liver, it is not guaranteed to cure the virus, and some people require lifelong treatment.
Scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) and liver cancer are potential long-term complications of the infection, and usually impact on people with chronic hepatitis B. Cirrhosis affects approximately 1 in 5 people with a chronic infection, and often does not present symptoms until the liver has been significantly damaged. Indications may include nausea, extremely itchy skin and weight loss.
While there is no cure for cirrhosis, symptoms can be addressed and its progression slowed down in the body.
Liver cancer may affect up to 1 in 20 people with cirrhosis caused by hepatitis B annually. Symptoms include weight loss, loss of appetite and jaundice, and treatment may consist of surgery to remove an impacted part of the liver, a liver transplant or measures to destroy cancerous cells.
The first-line treatment for chronic hepatitis B is peginterferon 2-a, a medicine that helps to activate the immune system in tackling the virus. It tends to be issued as an injection once per week for a 48 week period.
If the liver is not functioning particularly well, or the first-line treatment is not effective, antiviral tablet medication such as tenofovir or entecavir may be recommended.
The presence of hepatitis B surface antibodies in your blood results is understood to show immunity from HBV infection. Specifically, a test result outcome of less than 10mlU/ml indicates that you are not immune to HBV. A 10-50mlU/ml figure indicates a borderline result, and a booster vaccine is therefore advisable. An outcome between 50 and 100mlU/ml indicates low level immunity, and a booster vaccine is suggested, while a result of 100 and over indicates that you are immune to hepatitis B.
Immunisation measures against the spread of hepatitis B infection are prevalent in the healthcare sector, in which workers who come into direct contact with blood, bodily fluids or the tissue of patients are offered pre-exposure immunisation and vaccination. Particular sports, such as rugby, also issue recommendations. Rugby League, for example, has an ‘Infectious Diseases Policy’ in place, which strongly encourages players and match officials to get vaccinated against the virus.
In this test kit, you will find:
- one name label
- one request form
- one prepaid envelope
- one collection tube for blood
- one protective packing wallet
- one security label
- two plasters
- two moist wipes
- two alcotip swabs
- and three lancets.
If you are conducting the test yourself from home, make sure that you follow all of the instructions provided correctly. Failure to do so may compromise the accuracy of your test result.
- This test is for single-use only.
- Using a ball-point pen, put your surname, first name, date of birth and date of blood collection on the name label provided.
- Place the blood collection tube into the protective packing wallet.
- Wash your hands in warm, soapy water and dry them fully using a clean towel.
- Wipe the side of your little finger, near the tip, with the swab, and dry it with a clean towel. Make sure that the finger is absolutely dry. The side of the little finger is the best site for a finger prick test.
- Pick up a lancet and twist the top to remove the blue coloured stick. The lancet is now fit for use.
- Bring the lancet to the side of your little finger. Firmly press the lancet against the skin. If you draw very little blood, use another lancet to repeat the procedure. You should stand up when pricking your finger.
- Having pierced the skin and produced a small amount of blood, use a clean tissue to wipe away the first drop.
- Positioning your hand downwards (towards the floor), massage the side of your hand and your little finger to help stimulate the flow of blood.
- Taking your little finger in your other hand, squeeze your little finger gently, so that blood drops into the blood collection tube.
- Fill the collection tube with blood until the volume of blood reaches the upper line on the side of the tube. If you are struggling to collect the required amount, use the second lancet to prick the other little finger, or wipe the finger you have been using with a dry tissue. Wait for 5-10 seconds, at which point droplets of blood should appear again.
- Once you’ve filled the blood collection tube to the top fill line, stop accumulating blood and put the supplied spot plaster on your little finger, to stem any bleeding. Press the cap down on the collection tube until you hear a ‘click’ sound, which indicates that it is closed.
- Tip the tube up and down between 5 and ten times
- Ensure that the label provided has your details on it and wrap the label around the tube.
- Put the collection tube in the protective packaging wallet.
- Place the protective packaging wallet and any used lancets into the test kit box.
- With the security sticker supplied, seal the test kit box.
- Post the test kit to the doctor’s laboratory as soon as you can.
How does it work?
The test kit uses a blood sample to identify if someone has immunity to the hepatitis B virus.
How long after coming into contact with hepatitis B does it take for this test to detect it?
Hepatitis B surface antibodies - the indicators of immunity to the virus - become visible in a blood test once the hepatitis B surface antigen (the first indication that the virus is present and acute in the body) has disappeared, due to the person having cleared the infection and avoided chronic infection. It can take up to 6 months for immunity to the virus to show up in blood tests.
Does it need to go to a lab?
Yes. It needs to be posted to The Doctors Laboratory for testing.
How long does it take?
Results should be available within 2-3 days of the lab receiving the sample.
What type of sample do I need to provide for the syphilis test?
A blood sample is required. This should be taken from the side of the little finger. The blood collection tube must be filled to the top fill line.
What happens if I’m immune to the virus?
If you are immune to hepatitis B, no further action is required. Your employer or sports team may require you to prove your immunity; in which case, you should download and print the laboratory report..
What happens if I’m not immune to the virus?
If you are not immune to the virus, and if you are at risk of becoming infected (due to your line of work or those you come into contact with), it is recommended that you have a course of three hepatitis B vaccinations. If you have already had a course of vaccinations, this test may show that your immunity levels are not sufficient, and you may need a booster vaccination.
Is hepatitis B curable?
The body may rid itself of acute hepatitis B within three months. If the virus remains in the body for over 6 months since first exposure to the infection, the condition is termed chronic, and treatment may be required, with a view to a full recovery. Some people will overcome the virus through treatment, while for others hepatitis B will remain a lifelong condition.
Can you get hepatitis B twice?
No. Once your body has cleared itself of the virus, antibodies prevent it from recurring.
Who should get tested?
Anyone who may be at risk of coming into contact with the blood or bodily fluids of another person, or who may have been exposed to the virus, should have an immunity test for hepatitis B.
If your test result shows that you are not immune to the infection, you can book an appointment with your doctor to be vaccinated against the virus. If your profession puts you at any risk of contracting hepatitis B, it is your employer’s responsibility to facilitate vaccination for you.
You can purchase the hepatitis B immunity test kit through our secure online service. Fill in our short form and one of our prescribers will review it. Approved orders are shipped within 24 hours by next-day delivery.