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What do different markers of Hepatitis B infection interpret?

Q: I am a Hepatitis B (non-infectious carrier). I am married and have had sex with my husband before I learnt about this ailment. Will he get the same virus too? What medicine should I take for this? I have read about Lamivuc, can I take it? What foods should I take and which are the ones to avoid?

A:There are many markers of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and they connote different things. In general, the following is the interpretation of various markers:

  • Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg): Marker of current infection (acute or chronic)
  • Hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs): Marker of recovery or immunity (acquired through natural HBV infection, vaccination, or passive antibody immunisation)
  • Hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc): Marker of present or past infection -IgM: indicative of infection in the previous six months -IgG: indicative of more distant HBV infection that may have been cleared by the immune system or that may persist; A positive HBsAg and anti-HBc IgG indicates persistent chronic HBV infection
  • Hepatitis Be antigen (HBeAg): Marker of active current infection (correlates with a high level of viral replication and is also called a ‘marker of infectivity’
  • Hepatitis Be antibody (anti-HBe): Marker of inactive virus (correlates with low rates of viral replication)
  • HBV DNA: Measures virus activity (correlates with active replication) and is useful in monitoring response to treatment of HBV infection
Please consult a gastroenterologist who will be able to advise you. There are drugs available for treatment. There is no restriction on food except that it is prudent to avoid high fat content in diet.

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