What Does It Mean to be Hepatitis B Positive?

The symptoms of hepatitis B often include fever, nausea, and loss of appetite.
A blood test is performed to determine whether an individual has contracted Hepatitis B.
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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 25 January 2015
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A person who is hepatitis B positive either currently has the illness or has had it in the past. When adults develop hepatitis B, they may not realize they have it because the symptoms are often similar to the flu or some other type of minor virus. Hepatitis B goes away for most people who develop it within a month or two. Even though the illness normally goes away, a blood test will always show signs that a person has had the virus in the past because having a past infection means a person's blood has built up antibodies to the disease. This positive blood test often comes as a surprise to healthy people who were not aware they ever had hepatitis B.

People who are hepatitis B positive might also currently have hepatitis B. Symptoms of hepatitis B include vomiting, fever, and yellowing of the skin or eyes. Some people additionally notice that their urine becomes darker in color and they feel excessively weak and tired. Once a person's body rids itself of hepatitis B, it never comes back. There are occasionally some people who develop chronic hepatitis B, which is very serious and might ultimately require a liver transplant.


Hepatitis B is a contagious disease that causes inflammation of the liver. The liver is a very important vital organ in the body, and it is not possible for a person to live without it. When a person is hepatitis B positive and currently suffering from the disease, his liver will not work properly, and this has a direct effect on all his other organs because the liver plays a big part in keeping the entire body running smoothly. Most people go back to normal when hepatitis B runs its course, but people who suffer from chronic hepatitis often die. Children and infants are more likely to develop chronic hepatitis B because their immune systems are often not built up enough to fight off the illness.

If a person is hepatitis B positive but does not currently have hepatitis, she should not become overly concerned. People who have had hepatitis in the past and have recovered from it can't get it again, and they also cannot give it to other people. Being hepatitis B positive does mean that a person won't be eligible to donate blood or organs to others. False positives do occasionally occur during hepatitis B immunity testing, and because of this doctors cannot always be 100-percent sure that a person isn't still infected with hepatitis B, which is why blood and organ donations are not accepted from people who have ever had it.



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