Am I cured of hepatitis B and is it possible to still infect my partner?
If I had hepatitis B and the doctor says I either had the vaccination, which I didn’t, or my body overcame it does that mean I can or cannot be a carrier and my partners are at risk? My doctor didn’t seem to think much of it.
Thank you for your question.
The answer is a little more complicated than you might think but I will try and explain it as easily as I can.
For the doctor to have mentioned the possibility of vaccination, he or she must have found antibodies to hepatitis B. Antibodies are what our bodies produce when there is an infection. When someone has a vaccination it is sort of like fooling the body into thinking there is an infection so that it builds up a response without actually having the infection itself.
Hepatitis B antibodies are a little more complicated than other strains of hepatitis as there are three antibodies to look for and they indicate different things:
Hepatitis B surface antibodies (anti-HBs) – if you have these antibodies it indicates that you have either had a vaccination or have recovered from an infection and are immune to further infections.
Hepatitis B core antibodies (anti-HBc) – this is present when there is acute or chronic infection. Acute infection usually occurs when someone is newly infected and is symptomatic. Chronic infection is long-term and not always symptomatic. People with chronic infection who are asymptomatic are usually called ‘carriers’. During the acute and chronic stages of infection, the person infected is contagious.
Hepatitis B e antibodies (anti-HBe) – these are usually found in people who have recovered from acute hepatitis B infection. They are present at the same time as anti-HBc and anti-HBs. In people with chronic hepatitis B, anti-HBe can be used to monitor the infection and whether the treatment is working or not.
It sounds from your question that your doctor found anti-HBs antibodies. In which case you are no longer infectious.
However, it is important to make sure that this is the case if you are to avoid infecting any partners in the future. You should ask your doctor to test your blood to make sure it is the surface antibodies and not the core or e antibodies that you have.
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