Reaching the Third 90: Dried Blood Spot Specimens for HIV-1 Viral Load Determination Using COBAS® AmpliPrep/ COBAS® TaqMan® HIV-1 Test, v2.0 in Swaziland

This poster, from Reaching the Third 90: Implementing High Quality Viral Load Monitoring at Scale—a PEPFAR-supported meeting convened in 2016 to advance the scale-up of viral load (VL) services in sub-Saharan Africa—describes a study conducted in Swaziland to verify if VL test results using dried blood spots (DBS) prepared from venous blood (V-DBS) and VL results from finger prick DBS (FP-DBS) can produce comparable results to plasma. The VL results from V-DBS and FP-DBS were found to be comparable to plasma indicating that DBS can be used as an alternate sample to monitor the virological failure of ART patients. Introduction of DBS as an alternative specimen could expedite the rollout of routine VL testing services in Swaziland to include infants as well as access to patients from hard-to-reach health facilities.