EXPLAINER: Lab results and their interpretation

@ThomasTu thank you so such and as I was told by the Doctor I don’t need medications because
I’m HbeAg Negative but my viral load is detectable now. Should I be worried or what advice can you give before I take another test in next 6 months?

Dear @Sirbay,

I don’t think it is useful to worry and there isn’t any need to do it at the moment. The issues that your doctor is probably going to focus on whether your liver inflammation goes up, which will be seen in your liver function test results if it occurs. In the meantime, follow any advice your doctor tells you and keep maintaining as healthy a lifestyle as you can by getting good sleep, regular exercise, and eating well.

You’re doing well by keeping your monitoring up!


@ThomasTu thank you sir

Hello All, I recently got some blood work done on mid April and after waiting 2 month (June) got an unfortunate call from my doctor that I tested positive for HBV. It was very shocking news and ever since then I’ve been doing a lot of research and so happy to find this community. I’ve been really been trying to be positive and changed my diet. I’m waiting to see a specialist to do more test to see if it’s acute or chronic. Below is the result I got and had a question.

Hepatitis Surface Antigen - Reactive
Hepatitis Core Total (IgG + IgM) - Reactive
Hepatitis Surface Antibody <2.00 miU/mL
Hepatitis Immune Status - No evidence
Alanine Aminotransferase - 21

My Question is in regards to 2.00 miU/mL result. Can someone help me interpretation while i’m waiting to see a specialist? Does that result mean I have any antibody that are slowly building? Is it it normal to see this result in a someone that has Chronic HBV?

Thank you in advance.

I’m hepatitis b positive
I need someone to read my result



LIVER - the liver span is 13.8cm , smooth edges and accentuated parenchymal echoes.No cysts or focal lesions seen . PV = 12mm and CBD=6.4mm…
Other intra abdominal structure are within normal limit
IMPRESSION: Essentially normal scan .

Liver function test
AIK.phosphate 100ul

Bilirubin 13.1ul
AST. 39ul
Alt. 25ul

Hi @Cheikh, welcome to the forum and thanks for your question. I’m sorry that you had shockingly found out your status this way, but glad to hear that you’re taking charge and trying to get the information you need to move forward.

Regarding your questions, it may be that 2miU is the lowest limit of the test, so it’s basically saying it is negative. To know if your antibody levels are building up, you’ll need to keep monitoring your condition with your health care provider. You won’t know if it’s acute or chronic until you have some further tests (e.g. HBV core IgG).

Hi @Ben2020,

Welcome to the forum and thanks for your question. Your results are consistent with the HBeAg-negative inactive or low-replication phase. People in this phase have a relatively low risk of liver disease progression.

I’m not sure if you had a specific thing you wanted to know about. If so, let the forum know (see the recent thread here for guidelines to asking advice about lab results - IMPORTANT: Best practice for posting lab results)


Thank you Thomas
What do I need to do ?

Do I need medication or what exactly is the next thing for me ?

Hi @Ben2020,

What happens next needs to be discussed with your health provider, but the current guidelines (at least for Europe) suggest monitoring every 3-6 months to see if your liver disease has progressed or not. In the absence of any other factors (e.g. family history of liver cancer), medications are not recommended.

Hope this helps,

Thank you ….
I was told I will start medication

Vemlidy Tenofovir Alafinamide 25mg Daily

But I was trying to make research before I take any meds …

Hi @Ben2020,

This should be a decision you make with your health care provider and the treatment plan should be tailored to you. We can only mention what the general guidelines are in the field, but nothing for your specific set of needs.

Regarding background on medication, you might find some helpful information in the other threads: Deciding when to start treatment; Possible side-effects from long-term antiviral therapy.

Hope this helps,


I am new to this forum. I have been diagnosed with chronic Hep B about almost a year ago. I recently started Antecavir since Feb 2021. Prior to treatment my viral load was over 100 million and alt was fluctuating between 53-48. Since I started Entecavir, my viral load has decreased from 100 million to 2900 as of June 2021 but my alt remain at 48. I am e positive. What does this mean? Should I be concern? I am seeing a liver specialist, Nurse Practitioner through Kaiser. Will my alt decrease over time? I am worried because I have two relative that have pass away from hep b complications due to liver cancer and failure.

Any advice would help. Thank you so much.

Dear @Sunshine1 ,

Thanks for sharing your story and welcome to the forum.

I think you are doing the right thing in getting monitored and remaining under treatment, which looks like it’s working. It is common for antiviral treatments to take months to years to reduce your virus loads down to undetectable. As virus load decreases, ALTs will usually come down too.

It is also possible that you have other liver complications, such as fatty liver disease. If you haven’t had one, an ultrasound or fibroscan may help to see the condition of your liver.

Hope this helps,

Thank you @ThomasTu for your response. I had fibroscan in Dec. 2020 and it showed I have slight fatty liver. My BMI is 25. I have been getting an ultra sound every 6 months and per ultra sound everything looks normal. My liver specialist stated that I needed to loose about 20 lbs or so to see if that will help drop my alt. She thinks my alt is high due to my lack of exercise and diet. I started an exercise regime of 30-45 minutes running on thread mi daily and am changing my diet to a more healthy diet. I’m hoping that will help with my alt. I am 5.4 ft and weight 148 lbs. base on my last routine check up in 2020, I don’t have any other condition besides the hep b.

Is there anything else I can do to help lower my alt?


I think what you’ve done are good things to implement. These will have slow, but sure improvements as long as you keep sticking at it. Just think about how many years you have spent with your previous diet and exercise, you shouldn’t expect overnight improvements as you change, but it’s OK.

Chronic liver disease usually progresses over years to decades, which gives you time to change course. It is like steering a great big ship, slow changes even if there is energy and momentum behind them.

Hope this helps,


Thank you. Yes, it does help.

You might also find this other thread useful: Lifestyle changes, nutrition, and supplements for hep b

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Many thanks @ThomasTu and @Joan_Block for your time and efforts. My doctor said my Fibroscan result is fine but I’m a bit worried. You will all recall my husband was diagnosed with HBV late last year, then he progressed quickly to HCC and lost the battle in February. It’s scary for me and I don’t want to die.
Kindly help in interpreting the fibroscan to enable me know if I’m impacted by the HBV exposure or not. My last HBV 3 panel results are stated below too for a complete interpretation. Thank you.

HB cAb positive
Core Value 4.52 s/co
HB Core IgM Negative
Core M Value 0.08 s/co
HB Surface Antigen Negative
HB Sab Immune
HB Surface Ab value 29.57 mIU/mL

Dear @174,

Thanks for your questions. Your blood results show that you are completely protected against Hepatitis B and do not have an infection (although you have been exposed before, you have cleared it). Your fibroscan results show that your liver is completely normal and that there is no sign of liver damage or fatty liver. This is a very good sign and you have almost no risk of liver disease due to hepatitis B. Indeed you doctor is correct and the result is fine.

Hope this helps to settle your mind,

Hi Thomas,
My doctors have been tracking my HBV Surface antigen since 2019. My last lab (July, 8, 2021) shows that I have no immunity to hepatitis B virus and that my hepatitis B Surface antigen has climbed to 1214 IU/ml. (In 2019 it was 832 IU/ml; 870 IU/ml in 2020.) I have been on Vemlidy since 2019, and the virus DNA is undetectable.
My G.I. doctor suggests getting a liver biopsy and adding a drug to decrease the the surface antigen. He was in a rush, so I didn’t have the time to think, much less to ask questions. So I am turning to you as your explanations are clear, generous, and much appreciated.

My questions:

Why is the surface antigen number increasing despite Vemlidy? Is it because it targets the virus’s DNA only? Is the surface antigen a different entity? What does an increasing S antigen portend?

Since it is circulating in my blood, does it mean I can infect others who are not vaccinated against HBV? I was probably born with hepatitis B, it’s hard for me to imagine that I am still infectious after all these years. Or does one go in and out of the infectious phase depending on the numbers?

Is it possible for liver cancer to develop incognito despite the fact that the liver function panel, the liver ultrasound, and Fibroscan all have been within the normal reference range and one does all the right things (eats healthy, exercises, consumes no alcohol, does not smoke …) for years?

Do you know or have any information about jnj 73763989, which suppresses the s antigen? This experimental drug was mentioned on the forum recently.

Finally, people who have had covid develop antibody for it, why then I don’t have antibody for HBV since I have already been infected by the disease?

It’s quite a lot to ask. I still haven’t developed the ability of "being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” I appreciate your answers, any answers greatly.


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