Lessons from the Field

Quality assurance for HIV point-of-care testing and treatment monitoring assays

Adrienne F.A. Meyers, Paul Sandstrom, Thomas N. Denny, Mackenzie Hurlston, Terry B. Ball, Rosanna W. Peeling, Debrah I. Boeras
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 5, No 2 | a557 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v5i2.557 | © 2016 Adrienne F.A. Meyers, Paul Sandstrom, Thomas N. Denny, Mackenzie Hurlston, Terry B. Ball, Rosanna W. Peeling, Debrah I. Boeras | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 August 2016 | Published: 17 October 2016

About the author(s)

Adrienne F.A. Meyers, QASI, National HIV & Retrovirology Laboratories, Public Health Agency of Canada, JC Wilt Infectious Diseases Research Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
Paul Sandstrom, QASI, National HIV & Retrovirology Laboratories, Public Health Agency of Canada, JC Wilt Infectious Diseases Research Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Thomas N. Denny, Duke University, Department of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina, United States
Mackenzie Hurlston, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Terry B. Ball, QASI, National HIV & Retrovirology Laboratories, Public Health Agency of Canada, JC Wilt Infectious Diseases Research Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya and Department of Immunology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Rosanna W. Peeling, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
Debrah I. Boeras, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom


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Abstract

In 2015, UNAIDS launched the 90-90-90 targets aimed at increasing the number of peopleinfected with HIV to become aware of their status, access antiretroviral therapies and ultimatelybe virally suppressed. To achieve these goals, countries may need to scale up point-of-care (POC) testing in addition to strengthening central laboratory services. While decentralisingtesting increases patient access to diagnostics, it presents many challenges with regard totraining and assuring the quality of tests and testing. To ensure synergies, the London Schoolof Hygiene & Tropical Medicine held a series of consultations with countries with an interestin quality assurance and their implementing partners, and agreed on an external qualityassessment (EQA) programme to ensure reliable results so that the results lead to the bestpossible care for HIV patients. As a result of the consultations, EQA International wasestablished, bringing together EQA providers and implementers to develop a strategic planfor countries to establish national POC EQA programmes and to estimate the cost of setting upand maintaining the programme. With the dramatic increase in the number of proficiencytesting panels required for thousands of POC testing sites across Africa, it is important tofacilitate technology transfer from global EQA providers to a network of regional EQA centresin Africa for regional proficiency testing panel production. EQA International will continue toidentify robust and cost-effective EQA technologies for quality POC testing, integrating noveltechnologies to support sustainable country-owned EQA programmes in Africa.


Keywords

external quality assurance; HIV; resource-limited setting; point of care testing; CD4; early infant diagnosis; viral load

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