Barbara G. Werner, PhD, MA State Laboratory Institute, Boston, MA
Issues: In response to changes in HIV diagnostic testing, such as new EIA screening tests, increased use of rapid tests and suggestions for broader application of nucleic acid amplification tests, public health labs were surveyed to characterize current test utilization and identify planned changes.
Description: The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) launched a survey in July 2004 of 56 state and territorial public health laboratories. Questions about HIV Testing were grouped in the following categories: EIA and Confirmatory Testing, Use of Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests, Acute Infection Testing, Incidence Surveillance Testing, Rapid HIV Testing, and CLIA Limited Public Health Use Exception.
Lessons Learned: Public Health Laboratories are involved with many aspects of HIV diagnostic testing. Changes in assays used will require validation studies. Some public health laboratories are assuming additional roles. Changes in testing practices are presenting new challenges of communication.
Recommendations: Improve communication between public health labs and APHL, CDC, clinical and blood donor laboratories, and manufacturers of HIV diagnostic assays as well as HIV/AIDS program staff and community based organizations. Repeat the survey to get updated utilization information. Improve survey to improve clarity of responses.

Last Update: April 8, 2005