Anti-HBsAg Test: The Role of Public Health Initiatives in Hepatitis B Prevention

Hepatitis B is a transmittable disease with a high probability of fatal outcomes. It is a viral infection that can be transmitted from the mother during childbirth, or through body fluids, during intercourse, blood transfusion, exposure to sharp instruments, or unsafe injections; according to the WHO estimates, almost 820,000 people died due to Hepatitis B in 2019. The number of people affected by Hepatitis B in India in 2019 was 4 crore.

Faster access to tests such as the Anti-HBsAg test provides the benefit of earlier detection of Hepatitis B. At the same time, public health initiatives are also a crucial aspect of the fight against Hepatitis B. The Government of India launched the National Action Plan for combating viral Hepatitis. This post helps you learn about the most popular serological test for Hepatitis B and ideas for public health initiatives to prevent Hepatitis B.

The Threat of Hepatitis B

The threat of Hepatitis B is the foremost reason to learn about testing procedures and public health initiatives. Hepatitis B infection in adulthood can lead to chronic hepatitis in some cases, while infection during infancy or early childhood is the most likely cause of chronic hepatitis.

Therefore, public health initiatives are generally aligned with priorities for vaccination during infancy and childhood. The viral infection can take around 30 to 60 days before showing symptoms. On the other hand, the symptoms can persist, thereby leading to chronic hepatitis, especially in cases of infection during infancy or childhood.

The symptoms of Hepatitis B can afflict patients with complaints of acute illness. Symptoms of critical infection are yellowing of skin and eyes, extreme fatigue, dark urine, abdominal pain, vomiting, and nausea. Hepatitis B can also lead to the possibility of developing advanced liver diseases, including hepatocellular carcinoma and cirrhosis.

Response to the Threat

The lack of a specific treatment modality for acute hepatitis B necessitates learning about testing procedures. Timely diagnosis can help in creating care plans which focus on comfort for the patient and safeguarding their nutritional balance. Chronic hepatitis B infection can be treated with oral antiviral agents, and treatment can help in slowing down the development of cirrhosis. The World Health Organization has recommended oral medications, such as entecavir or tenofovir, as the most powerful drugs for suppressing the hepatitis B virus.

The implementation of public health initiatives is one of the examples of widespread response to hepatitis B prevention. The WHO adopted a Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis for 2016-2020 in May 2016. According to the strategy, the elimination of viral hepatitis is a strategic priority in public health. It features a roadmap for eliminating hepatitis B through strategies for prevention, diagnosis, community intervention, and treatment.

Furthermore, the 75th World Health Assembly set up a new assortment of integrated global health sector strategies for viral hepatitis in May 2022. Many member states of the WHO have created comprehensive national hepatitis prevention and elimination strategies according to the global health sector strategy.

Significance of Hepatitis B Testing

What is the most obvious solution for Hepatitis B prevention and elimination? The answer would point you to the root causes of the disease, which you can detect on time with proper serological tests. The panel of Hepatitis B tests includes three distinct metrics, which help in confirming Hepatitis B infection in patients. Here are the important parts of the distinct highlights in the tests for Hepatitis B.

  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigen

The HBsAg or Hepatitis B surface antigen is a protein that develops on the surface of the virus. You can rely on the Anti-HBsAg test for the detection of chronic or acute levels of hepatitis B infection.

  • Hepatitis B Surface Antibody

Hepatitis B surface antibodies indicate that the body is recovering from hepatitis B infection. Anti-HBs are different from Anti Surface Antigens.

  • Total Antibody to Hepatitis B Core Antigen

The anti-HBC appears in blood samples at the beginning of acute hepatitis B symptoms. It serves as a measurement of IgM and IgG, and the total antibody to Hepatitis B core antigen shows ongoing infection.

  • IgM Antibody to Hepatitis B Core Antigen

The IgM antibody to the hepatitis B core antigen test provides proof of recent infection with the hepatitis B virus. It is a recommended test for hepatitis B in case of acute infection.


The comprehensive range of tests involved for hepatitis B suggests that Hepatitis B surface antigens are an accurate indicator of problematic infection. Public health initiatives geared towards raising awareness regarding hepatitis B prevention should focus on tests. Timely testing can support public health programs for preventing and eliminating Hepatitis B infection.

Most importantly, the global health sector strategy for combating viral hepatitis by the World Health Organization also offers proof of ongoing efforts in fighting against Hepatitis B. Learn more about the best healthcare facilities in India for Hepatitis B Surface Antigen or Anti-HBsAg test and hepatitis B treatment.

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