Welcome to the community and thank you for sharing your story. That sounds like a really tough way of finding out you have Hep B; you couldn’t even enjoy having your second COVID vaccine. It’s great that you have booked a meeting with your health provider, I get that it is pretty hard and confronting to do alone. I hope you will be able to find the support you need from others around you.
I’ll try to answer your queries as best as I can:
- What theories are there for getting the virus if I do not fit the risk factors? I am busting my brains theorizing what could have been such as an accident I don’t remember, allowing my barber to use razors on my skin against my better judgment, allowing my barber to use clippers on my scalp that already has problems with skin cracking and crusting over, premarital sexual relations (more than 30 years ago?!), or the 1-2 times I used my friend’s shaving equipment (I recently did a search for him and discovered he died at 69 so now I am really freaking our even more!).
- Is there a way to know how long I have been positive?
This may be an impossible question to answer as it is not really possible to know how long you’ve been positive. You can get a test to see if you have been exposed in the last 6 months, but past that there is no way to know.
There are many possible ways you could have been exposed, but the majority of chronic infections come from mother-to-child transmission during birth. Otherwise it could have been any number of ways that exposed you to a little bit of blood since then, e.g. scraping yourself when you were a toddler or indeed any of the possibilities you have mentioned.
They may be no real way to find out, but in a way it doesn’t matter now. It’s probably more important and more useful to think about the actions you can do now to prevent any potential liver damage.
- Can all of this just be a terrible nightmare and my results could reasonably be false positives?
You could possibly have one false positive test, but having all three as a false positive is pretty unlikely. If you are unsure however, I would raise it with your healthcare provider.
- Given my results, it seems like I am “chronic” and “contagious,” but is that definite?
You will not know this until you get a HBV DNA PCR test, which will tell you how much virus is in your blood. This will give you an indication of how likely you are to pass on the virus to others.
With regards to whether you are chronic or not, the best way is to get a test 6 months later to see if you still have it.
- If my wife turns out to be positive also, did she give it to me or did I give it to her?
I’m not sure you would be able to ever tell.
- Is hep b virus even hereditary, staying dormant until some moment in the future?
It is not really hereditary, because it isn’t in the DNA. Just because your parents have it doesn’t necessarily mean you get it (there are prevention methods if we find out that a mother is pregnant).
The infection can however stay dormant for decades without any sign that you are infected. In a way, it is fortunate you were diagnosed now; many don’t know they have it until their liver is very damaged and failing. Now at least you have the knowledge and opportunity to act - get a liver specialist to monitor your condition, find out if your liver is damaged, consider treatment if your doctor indicates that it would help, and otherwise eat right/be active/sleep well to help your liver stay healthy.
Hope this helps.