Human immunodeficiency virus in cadavers: A review


Millions of people are infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); however, limited research focuses on post-mortem HIV detection. Post-mortem HIV testing is vital because medical records are not always available, and the HIV status can be unknown. The aims of this study were to review the available literature and determine the most efficient HIV test for post-mortem samples, the optimal tissue or bodily fluid to be tested, and the duration that HIV remains reliably detectable. A literature search was conducted using PubMed and Google Scholar. Terms were related to HIV (HIV detection, HIV testing, HIV prevalence) and deceased individuals (post-mortem, cadaver, deceased, organ donor). Inclusion criteria included English studies, or articles with at least an English abstract, while review articles were excluded. From this literature search, 43 studies were applicable. These studies most commonly used enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot as screening and confirmation tests, respectively. As for the optimal tissue or bodily fluid, serum remained the golden standard, while testing skin seemed promising. HIV remains detectable in the body up to 58 days after death, although few studies tested samples after 48 h. Knowledge of the HIV status can be beneficial in the case of accidental exposure and can create a range of possible research opportunities on the effects of HIV in different organ systems. This review outlined several gaps in the current literature and future studies should investigate these gaps because this information can be relevant to numerous professions. Clin. Anat. 32:603-610, 2019. (c) 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc


Cilliers K, Muller CJF, Page BJ




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