When you have the hepatitis A virus or HAV, this means that you have a liver infection. A liver infection can make a person very unhealthy and it should be treated right away.  In order to check if you have hepatitis A, HAV tests are required.

Types of Hepatitis A Testing

There are two types of HAV tests that you can take. The first is Hepatitis A IgM, which is an antibody that is only produced when the body has hepatitis A. The Hepatitis A IgM test is best for early detection of hepatitis A.

The other test is Hepatitis A IgG, which are antibodies that are present in the body for years, even for life. There is no specific test to detect this antibody, you will need a total antibody test which will detect both IgM and IgG.

Do You Need the Hepatitis A IgM Test?

The best time to have a Hepatitis A IgM Test is when acute symptoms start to appear. These symptoms include fatigue, fever, nausea, abdominal pain, joint pain, loss of appetite, jaundice, vomiting, dark urine and pale colored stool.

In other cases, you may need to take the Hepatitis A IgM test if you’re about to take the vaccine. If you already have the antibodies, there’s no point getting the vaccine anymore as it won’t work.

The Results

With a positive HAV IgM test, this indicates that you have an acute HAV infection. However, if the IgM test is negative but you are positive on the total antibody test (IgM and IgG), this may mean two things: 1) You don’t have an active infection but had previous HAV exposure, or 2) Has been exposed to HAV and is not ruling out possibility of current acute infection. Of course, if the results of both tests are negative, then you are HAV virus free and you can get your vaccine.

Prevention and Vaccine

Back then, the best way to prevent having hepatitis A virus is to be injected with immune globulin or the vaccine. But since 2007, the U.S. changed their recommendations. Those exposed to HAV are advised to have the vaccine after exposure if they are aged 40 years old or below.

Hepatitis A virus may not be highly fatal but it can affect your overall health. Taking the test will help you identify if you have the virus or not, so you can treat it right away. However, medical experts only recommend people to take the test if they experience the symptoms already.

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