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Overseas processing of dried blood spots for timely diagnosis of HIV in Haitian infants

DOI: 10.1590/S1020-49892008001100005

Keywords: blood specimen collection, hiv serodiagnosis, poverty areas, haiti.

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Abstract:

objective: to determine the feasibility of sending dried blood spots (dbs) to an overseas processing center for the diagnosis of hiv infection in infants in rural haiti. methods: the program took place in the central department of haiti. children under 18 months of age who were born to an hiv-infected mother or who had a positive hiv antibody test had blood collected on filter paper. once dry, specimens were labeled with a unique identifying number, placed in sealed gas-impermeable envelopes containing a desiccant, stored at room temperature, and mailed to a commercial laboratory in the netherlands, where blood was eluted from the filter paper and analyzed by the retinatm rainbow hiv-1 rna assay. infants were tested at 1 month of age and again at 4 months of age. results: the dbs protocol was easily scaled up. during the study period, 138 infants had hiv status confirmed; 15 of them were found to be hiv infected and were enrolled in appropriate hiv care, and 123 were confirmed to be hiv uninfected, avoiding unnecessary prophylactic antibiotics and providing reassurance to caregivers. conclusion: central, overseas processing of dbs is a feasible solution for the timely diagnosis of hiv infection in infants where local capacity is unavailable. regional processing centers for dbs could improve the access of millions of children in latin america and the caribbean to timely diagnosis of hiv infection.

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