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AIDS. 1993 Jun;7(6):883-5.

Rapid and simple screening and supplemental testing for HIV-1 and HIV-2 infections in west Africa.

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  • 1Projet RETRO-CI, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.



To evaluate a combination of rapid tests as a strategy for screening and supplemental testing of serum for HIV-1 and/or HIV-2 antibodies.


Cross-sectional evaluation.


Projet RETRO-CI, an AIDS research project in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.


Serum specimens were collected from 1000 consecutive women giving birth in an Abidjan maternal and child health centre and from 185 hospitalized patients. All serum specimens were tested for HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies by whole-virus enzyme immunoassay; repeatedly reactive specimens were further tested by virus-specific Western blot and synthetic peptide-based tests. This was the reference strategy against which the algorithm under evaluation was compared. All specimens were subsequently tested by a mixed (HIV-1 and HIV-2) recombinant antigen-based test (Abbott Testpack), followed, if positive, by a rapid synthetic peptide-based test (Genetic Systems Genie) as a supplemental test.


According to the reference strategy the prevalence of HIV-1 and/or HIV-2 infection was 13% among the pregnant women and 78% among the hospitalized patients. Compared with the reference strategy, the combination of rapid tests was associated with a sensitivity of 99.6%, a specificity of 99.9%, and positive and negative predictive values of 99.6 and 99.9%, respectively. Four per cent of HIV-2-positive and 1% of HIV-1-positive specimens were considered dually reactive by the rapid test combination.


Synthetic peptide-based tests provide an alternative to Western blots for supplemental testing for HIV-1 and HIV-2. This combination of rapid tests offers performance characteristics comparable to an enzyme immunoassay and Western blot-based strategy, without requiring running water, electricity, or a well-developed laboratory. High-quality serodiagnosis of HIV-1 and HIV-2 infections is possible at the most peripheral levels of the health-care system in developing countries, the limiting factors being the costs of tests and training of staff.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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