Confounding Results

I am a 48 year old woman who grew up in the US with parents who used and experimented with drugs in the 1970s. I currently have two teenage children; The past couple of years have been like a bad dream for me. During Covid, all of the talk of antibodies, antigens and public health triggered a distant memory I didn’t even know really existed. At first, I remembered someone telling me I had evidence of antibodies to a ‘Disease hiding in my liver, and that it wouldn’t affect me until I was very old.’ Upon this recollection, I felt a rush of the feeling of shame and extreme fear. I then remembered a doctor asking me if I had been a sex worker, or drug addict, and how many sex partners I had had. I was not pleased with his line of questioning. He was a gynecologist. He also asked about my parents and if they were drug users, of which I had always been embarrassed, so I lied and said no. I must have been in my early 20s….Fast forward to November 2021; After this recollection, I had researched liver diseases and decided that I must have been diagnosed with either Hepatitis B or C at that appointment. For weeks, I couldn’t eat or sleep. I searched the internet day and night. Because I have two children, and after reading the statistics of mother-child transmission, and the fact that the state I lived in when they were born did not give birth doses, until 4 weeks- in the early 2000s, I was convinced my kids were both infected. With their asthma and other health issues at the time I couldn’t see straight. I was wracked with the guilt for forgetting this information, for blocking it out of my mind for 20 years, and possibly missing an opportunity to prevent them (my loves) from suffering. I scoured my medical records and found negative prenatal hbsag tests for both children. But that still didn’t give me any real solace. I had that recollection of this doctor saying things that made me believe I had something active and contagious. I think he even recommended tampons, as they would be a safer way to prevent transmission to the “public.” Like I said, this was all buried in my mind but pieces were slowly coming into focus. I finally told my husband and we went in for a hepatitis panel. He was negative for all markers. I was only weakly positive for HBs, (surface antibodies 12+) negative for HB surface antigen, negative core,negative hbe antigen, neg HB eAB, negative HBV DNA. Also negative for HCV. The RN I saw told me I had been vaccinated and that is the only explanation for my surface antibodies. For a couple of days, I felt real relief. But after talking to my mom, and calling my old pediatrician who is elderly at this point, we realized I was never vaccinated. They didn’t vaccinate my age group. My mother also admitted she was not “allowed” to donate blood. She described being jaundiced and sick “right around the middle of her pregnancy” with me. I’m an only child; I begged her to get tested and she did. She had positive hbs, negative surface antigen, positive core, suggesting her immune system had mediated a natural infection, making it a non-issue for her. (I don’t know how this would affect me) she also had antibodies to HCV but no DNA. I also reached out to my dad who I don’t speak to often. He admitted to me he has both hep b and c, actively. I was open with my kids, and they were tested as well, and their tests came back like mine. Just negative HBs indicating vaccination, but they were vaccinated. I believe that at the time I was told I had hepatitis b, I was at a large teaching hospital and that their assays may have been more sensitive. Perhaps I have OBI or an escape mutation. What should I do to get it the bottom of this? The doctors I’ve seen don’t think there is anything else to do. They don’t seem to care about the fact I remember being diagnosed. I know these antibodies are not from vaccination.
More than anything, I want to do everything in my power to make sure my kids get treated if they need it.
I’m sorry this was so long. Let me know if you have any ideas of different markers or assays, or scans I could request. I’m so grateful I found this forum. Thank you.

Dear @Daisymae,

Apologies that there was no response to your post for so long. It must have gotten lost under the pile of new posts.

Nevertheless, I hope you’re doing OK, and just to say if you have undetectable HBV DNA, no anti-HBc and are positive for HBs antibodies, then the risk of OBI is very low. Your profile is completely consistent with protection. It may be possible that you were exposed and the anti-HBc has lowered to undetectable over time.

Hope this helps,