Pooled HIV-1 viral load testing using dried blood spots to reduce the cost of monitoring antiretroviral treatment in a resource-limited setting

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2013 Oct 1;64(2):134-7. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182a61e63.


Rollout of routine HIV-1 viral load monitoring is hampered by high costs and logistical difficulties associated with sample collection and transport. New strategies are needed to overcome these constraints. Dried blood spots from finger pricks have been shown to be more practical than the use of plasma specimens, and pooling strategies using plasma specimens have been demonstrated to be an efficient method to reduce costs. This study found that combination of finger-prick dried blood spots and a pooling strategy is a feasible and efficient option to reduce costs, while maintaining accuracy in the context of a district hospital in Malawi.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Developing Countries
  • Dried Blood Spot Testing / methods*
  • Drug Monitoring / economics*
  • Drug Monitoring / methods
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / drug effects*
  • HIV-1 / physiology
  • Humans
  • Malawi
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Viral / blood*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Viral Load* / economics
  • Viral Load* / methods
  • Viral Load* / physiology


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • RNA, Viral