Expanding access to HIV viral load testing: A systematic review of RNA stability in EDTA tubes and PPT beyond current time and temperature thresholds


BACKGROUND: HIV viral load (VL) testing is the gold standard for antiretroviral treatment monitoring, but many barriers exist to VL testing in resource-limited settings, including storage and transport limitations for whole blood and plasma. Data from various studies indicate that HIV RNA is stable beyond current recommendations. We conducted a systematic review to assess stability data of HIV RNA in whole blood and plasma across times and temperatures. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Using a pre-defined protocol, five databases were searched for studies where blood samples from HIV patients were stored at time and temperature points that exceeded manufacturer recommendations. RNA stability, the primary outcome, was measured by the difference in means compared to samples stored within established thresholds. RNA stability was defined as


Bonner K, Siemieniuk RA, Boozary A, Roberts T, Fajardo E, Cohn J.




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Testing
    • Testing


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