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What is AFP?
To find out if you have a liver tumor or cancer, a blood test will look for a protein in your blood called alpha fetoprotein (or AFP). If you are infected with chronic HBV your doctor should test AFP levels every six to 12 months to find out if you are at risk for liver cancer.
What is ALT?
There are several kinds of blood tests that tell a doctor if your liver is damaged. One of the most common tests measures the level of alanine aminotransferase (ALT for short) in your blood. ALT is a chemical that liver cells release when they are damaged. High levels of ALT can be caused by many things like alcohol, drugs, toxins, and viruses such as the hepatitis B virus.
What Do Antigens & Antibodies Mean?
To find out if you have hepatitis B – or the stage of your infection – a simple blood sample is taken that will look for certain proteins called antigens, which make up the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Doctors will also look for antibodies your immune system makes to fight the HBV antigens. When your body has created enough of these antibodies to kill off the antigens it means that you cleared or got rid of the infection.
HBeAg-Negative Hepatitis B
Normally, the hepatitis B virus (HBV) needs three proteins (also called antigens) in order to manufacture more HBV. These are called the core, surface, and “e” or HBeAg antigens. But some HBV, with certain mutations, are able to reproduce without the “e” antigen. This is called HBeAg negative hepatitis B.
What Is the “e” Antigen (HBeAg)?
To find out how your hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) is progressing, a blood sample will be taken and examined for antigens – proteins that make up the hepatitis B virus. Your doctor will also look for antibodies – cells that your immune system creates to fight each hepatitis B antigen.
What is an HBV Genotype?
There are different strains or types of the hepatitis B virus (HBV for short) called genotypes. The HBV genotypes are labeled as letters – HBV genotype A through H. In the United States, the most common genotypes are A, B, C and D. The other genotypes E through H are also found in the United States, but not as many people have them. A blood test is needed to find out what genotype you have.
What is HBV Viral Load?
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA contains the proteins that make up the virus – that is the material that the virus uses to make more copies of itself. A blood test is taken to find out if someone has HBV and, if so, how many hepatitis B viruses are in the blood. The results of the viral load test are listed as copies or units per milliliter.