n Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine - Diagnosis of perinatal HIV-1 infection in South Africa : letters

Volume 2, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1608-9693
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6751



I would like to comment on the use of HIV tests with reference to the guideline published in this issue of the Journal (Diagnosis of perinatal HIV-1 infection in South Africa). While it is valid that the HIV-1 DNA PCR is considered the established test of choice for the diagnosis of perinatally acquired HIV infection, there are considerable differences in performance (sensitivity, specificity and reliability) between different HIV-1 DNA PCR assays. Commonly used 'home-brew' PCR assays are developed 'inhouse' by different laboratories and have different sensitivities, specificities and reliabilities. Performance may also vary from test to test as different reagent components are used.

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