Background: Point-of-care tests have the capacity to improve healthcare delivery by reducing costs and delay associated with care. A novel point-of-care immunochromatographic test for dual diagnosis of both HIV and syphilis by detecting IgG, IgM and IgA antibodies to HIV, and specific and recombinant Treponema pallidum antigens has recently been developed, but has not been evaluated in rural field settings. We evaluated the performance of the SD Bioline Syphilis/HIV Duo (Duo) assay at a healthcare center in rural Uganda.
Methods: A convenience sample of pregnant women attending Kinoni Health Centre IV from March to May, 2013 was enrolled. Venous blood was collected and centrifuged for plasma isolation. Samples were tested with the Duo assay and compared with the Treponema pallidum hemaglutination assay and paired HIV rapid antibody tests as the reference standards. The ease of use and time required for the Duo assay were also assessed by laboratory technicians.
Results: Two hundred twenty women were enrolled with a mean age of 25.00 years (SD 5.41). The sensitivity and specificity of the Duo assay were 100% (95% CI 79.0 - 100%) and 100% (95% CI 97.6 - 100.0) respectively, for syphilis, and, 100% (75.9 - 100%) and 99.5% (96.8 - 99.9%) respectively, for HIV. The duo kit was found to be faster and easier to use than the current HIV and syphilis testing techniques.
Conclusion: The sensitivity and specificity of the SD Bioline HIV/Syphilis Duo test were excellent in a field setting in Uganda. The Duo assay should be further evaluated in alternate populations and with point-of-care specimens (e.g. whole blood from finger stick specimens), but shows promise as a tool for improved HIV and syphilis surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment in field settings.