Anti-HBC Tests



Total anti-HBc

IgM anti-HBc

Previous exposure to HBV (the test alone does indicate whether or not the patient has persistent infection or if immunity has developed); not a candidate for donating blood

Never been infected with HBV; candidate for donating blood

Recently acquired acute HBV infection


Positive (+)

Negative (-)

Positive (+)

Some HBV blood panels may include two additional tests:

1) The total hepatitis B core antibody (total anti-HBc) test tells if your patient has been previously infected with HBV, which is useful for screening potential blood donors (the U.S. does not allow people with past HBV infections to donate blood – even if they have recovered).  The test by itself does not tell if your patient is protected against HBV infection.


2) The hepatitis B core IgM antibody (IgM anti-HBc) test tells if an unprotected patient has recently been infected with HBV.

A positive total anti-HBc test or IgM anti-HBc test does not tell if your patient has chronic HBV infection – only an HBsAg test that remains positive for over six months can do this.  If your patient has acute HBV infection, his/her infection may or may not become lifelong.