Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If your doctor suspects you have hepatitis B, he or she will examine you and likely order blood tests. Blood tests can determine if you have the virus in your system and whether it's acute or chronic. Your doctor might also want to remove a small sample of your liver for testing (liver biopsy) to determine whether you have liver damage. During this test, your doctor inserts a thin needle through your skin and into your liver and removes a tissue sample for laboratory analysis.

Screening healthy people for hepatitis B

Doctors sometimes test certain healthy people for hepatitis B infection because the virus can damage the liver before causing signs and symptoms. Talk to your doctor about screening for hepatitis B infection if you:

  • Live with someone who has hepatitis B
  • Have had sex with someone who has hepatitis B
  • Have a liver enzyme test with unexplained abnormal results
  • Have HIV or hepatitis C
  • Are an immigrant from, have parents from or have adopted children from places where hepatitis B is common, including Asia, the Pacific Islands, Africa and Eastern Europe
  • Inject illegal drugs
  • Are an inmate
  • Are a man who has sex with men
  • Receive kidney dialysis
  • Take medications that suppress the immune system, such as anti-rejection medications used after an organ transplant
  • Are pregnant
Aug. 29, 2014