An article on the why, where, how, when and cost of hepatitis B viral load test.
Before I proceed let me start by giving you snippets on hepatitis b virus
Also known as HBV DNA. It is a test to measure the amount of hepatitis b in your blood. It is measured in IU/ml. It determines a lot of things in the management of hepatitis b infection. It is a blood test.
HBV DNA (quantitative viral load) indicates viral burden and viral replication. It is used to assess recovery from infection and candidacy for antiviral therapy and to differentiate between inactive carrier state and chronic active hepatitis in chronic HBV infection. It also helps to determine when to start treatment.
In a person with detectable HBeAg, an HBV viral load greater than 20,000 international units per milliliter (IU/mL) of blood indicates that the virus is active and has the greatest potential to cause damage to the liver. Similarly, in a person with an HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B, an HBV viral load of greater than 2,000 IU/mL indicates that the virus is active and has the potential to cause damage to the liver. Generally speaking, if the HBV viral load is above these numbers, treatment is considered necessary. However, HBV treatment decisions are based on multiple factors, and your doctor may make recommendations based on other input.
It can be done in many big labs in Nigeria especially in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Benin city, Delta, Kaduna, Kano and so on. In Lagos, you can do it in Nigerian Institute of Medical Research in Yaba. Their results are reliable. Labs like Pathcare (Synlab), Union Diagnostics, and Raytouch does Hepatitis b DNA test. Teaching hospitals and Federal Medical Centres also do the test.
Hepatitis B viral load test is expensive. The prices ranges between #30,000 to #50,000 naira. Even worse is the fact that you are expected to do this test at least 3 times a year in order to help your doctor assess your response to treatment.