When people know their hepatitis B status they are able to make lifestyle choices to enhance their health. This may enable them to protect their liver, prevent serious liver damage, prevent transmission of the virus to others, and to seek treatment. In some cases, a diagnosis of hepatitis B may explain why a person has been feeling ill or fatigued, or why certain foods or alcohol may make them feel unwell.
Hepatitis B infection is complex and a number of tests may need to be carried out. The results of these tests can indicate an acute (recent) infection, resolved infection (immunity) or chronic (long term) infection. Further tests in chronic hepatitis B infection can indicate whether the virus is actively replicating (active infection) or ‘inactive’ (replicating at a much lower rate). All test results and an explanation of their meaning should be provided by the doctor in person.