Q. My hepatitis A total antibody is positive. What does it mean?

Answered by
Dr. C Elanchezhian
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 08, 2020 and last reviewed on: Sep 10, 2020

Hello doctor,

I am 27 years old and recently did some blood work. I just got the results and tested positive for hepatitis A antibody total (reactive). I cannot find my vaccination records so I cannot confirm if I was ever vaccinated for it. I also do not have any symptoms of hepatitis A nor have I ever had symptoms for it in the past.

My question is, if I have antibodies does that mean I have had the vaccination in the past? Or if it is a recent hepatitis A infection am I contagious even with antibodies? I do not want to risk spreading it to my partner. I do not know how long you can be contagious for or how long it takes for the body to create antibodies for the virus. Meaning, am I past the point of being contagious if I have antibodies already? Please help.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

You need not worry, hepatitis A antibody is reactive and your liver functions are not affected. Your liver enzymes are normal.

A total antibody test detects both IgM and IgG antibodies present. If the total antibody test or hepatitis A is positive and someone has never been vaccinated against HAV, then the person has had past exposure to the virus. They protect you against hepatitis A. The average time to get symptoms after you are infected is 30 days.

Hepatitis A infection usually clears up on its own within a few months. Once you have had HAV, you will probably never have it again. This is immunity to the infection. Hepatitis A virus is most likely to spread the disease during the two weeks before symptoms begin. Most people stop being contagious one week after their symptoms start. Only children can be spreading the virus in their stool for up to three months after infection.

Mild cases of hepatitis A do not require treatment. Most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage. Your partner and close family members can take vaccination. It prevents about 95% effective in healthy adults and can work for more than 20 years. In children, it is about 85% effective and can last for 15 to 20 years. There are no medications for virus. It will go by itself.

Thank you doctor,

So does having normal liver enzymes indicate that I am not currently infected? Does it mean that my hepatitis A antibody total was due to vaccination and not current infection?



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Total hepatitis A antibody indicates prior or acute infection with or immunization to Hepatitis A virus. That means you have done test now may be acute infection present or may be vaccinated. If this is an acute infection, symptoms may appear after weeks or months. Still no need to worry about it. Most people get better within two months. There are usually no long-term effects. After you recover, you will be immune for the rest of your life. You can repeat the liver function test after one month to see the enzyme state.

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