Patterns of each IgG-specific subclass for hepatitis B virus (HBV) core antigen (anti-HBc) are remarkably different among individuals with different infection status, i.e., completely recovered or chronic carrier. Each of the IgG-specific subclasses of HBV surface antigen (anti-HBs) was tested for ELISA sensitivity using four commercially available hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) kits and one self-prepared plate. The specificity in 18 serum samples obtained from chronic HBV carriers, recovered individuals, vaccinees and non-infected individuals was investigated. Differences in absorbance values were obtained by comparing results from these different plates. Data on the absorbance values of anti-HBs IgG subclasses obtained indicated that one to four subjects had a false-negative or false-positive result using the four commercial plates. Only the self-prepared plate demonstrated 100% specificity and sensitivity for anti-HBs subclasses. Moreover, the results indicate that anti-HBs subclass IgG1 was predominant in cured patients, chronic carriers and vaccinees. The samples from both chronic carriers and vaccinees exhibited a significantly higher concentration of total IgG and IgG1 than samples in recovered individuals (P<0.05).