Screening and diagnostic testing protocols for HIV and Syphilis infections in health care setting in Qatar: Evaluation and recommendations.PLoS One. 2023; 18(2):e0278079.Plos
HIV and Syphilis are common STIs, which have become a concern and burden on healthcare systems, as many infections go untreated and lead to potentially serious complications. HIV is usually diagnosed with Western blot, PCR, and p24 antigen testing. Whereas, Syphilis is mainly diagnosed through clinical findings and serologic testing. The Medical Commission Department (MC) under MOPH is responsible for screening all newcomers to Qatar, aiming to keep the country free from serious infectious diseases.
We aimed to evaluate the diagnostic efficiency of the protocols used in the MC for screening HIV and Syphilis infections.
We conducted a retrospective study of samples analyzed by 4th Generation ARCHITECT® HIV Ag/Ab Combo and Rapid Plasma Reagin (RPR) between January to December 2019. ARCHITECT® HIV Ag/Ab Combo positive samples were confirmed by INNO-LIA™ HIVI/II and RT-PCR. RPR-reactive samples were confirmed by ARCHITECT® Syphilis Treponema pallidium Antibody (Syphilis TPA) assay.
For HIV, data were collected from 585,587 individuals, of which 595 (0.1%) were positive by the ARCHITECT® HIV Ag/Ab Combo (Analyzer A). When all initially positive sera were re-tested on newly collected blood samples using different ARCHITECT® HIV Ag/Ab Combo analyzer (analyzer B), 99.8% (594/595) of samples were also positive, suggesting high reproducibility. The positive predictive value (PPV) between ARCHITECT® HIV Ag/Ab Combo and the INNO-LIA™ HIVI/II confirmatory assay was 31.8%. The PPV between ARCHITECT® HIV Ag/Ab Combo and HIV-PCR assay was 26.8%. Retrospective data for Syphilis were collected from a total of 97,298 individuals who visited the MC, of which 198 (0.20%) were initially positive by RPR. The PPV between RPR and Syphilis TPA confirmatory assay was 36.6%.
Despite the high rate of false positivity using ARCHITECT® HIV Ag/Ab Combo and RPR screening assays, both assays have proven to be highly effective as screening testing methods.