Hepatitis B Testing

Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus, which is acquired through sexual contact, sharing drug-injection equipment such as needles, or during vaginal birth. Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable infection. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of 18 be screened at least once for the hepatitis B virus, and all adults 18 to 59 years of age receive the vaccine.

  1. Symptoms
  2. Testing
  3. Screening

Symptoms Vary With Age

Hepatitis B symptoms depend on the age of the infected individual. Children under 5 years who were infected during birth and immunosuppressed adults are frequently asymptomatic. Individuals over 30 years of age are more likely to present acute or new hepatitis B symptoms than individuals 6 to 29 years. Symptoms appear 60 to 150 days after the exposure event and can last up to 6 months.

Selected signs and symptoms of an acute hepatitis B infection:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice

Individuals living with chronic hepatitis B are often asymptomatic with no sign of liver disease until they receive a cirrhosis or liver cancer diagnosis.