HIV Viral Load Unit



NPP HIV Viral Load Unit

The NPP group has been working with and supporting all HIV Viral Load labs within the NHLS regions to attain laboratory accreditation in order to maintain international standards of diagnostic testing. The selection process used to identify HIV labs for accreditation is as follows:
  • Test Volumes
  • Centralization of laboratories
  • Available resources, i.e. equipment, staff etc
  • Consolidated laboratories for CD4 & Viral Load testing
  • Either CD4 or HIV Viral Load lab already accredited
  • Based on existing QA audit reports (QAD)

The NPP has been pursuing training needs to address performance gaps in Good Laboratory Practice and HIV testing. A training programme has been developed based on Viral Load testing and Quality Systems as a collaborative effort between the NPP group and the suppliers of the technology. At these trainings, delegates have been represented from all NHLS regional laboratories using either the m2000 RealTime HIV-1 Viral Load System supplied by Abbott or the Cobas Ampliprep/ Cobas TaqMan system supplied by Roche. The trainings were conducted at the PRF training centre in Sandringham and included the following:
  • Introduction to Good Clinical Laboratory Practice
  • Networking and sharing experience
  • Improving delegates knowledge and skills in order to reduce the performance gap of laboratory staff
  • Interactive sessions to provide delegates with comprehensive guidance and practical help on troubleshooting.
  • Feedback from field specialists
  • Opportunity to assess the value and effectiveness of the training received. Thus providing further suggestions for improvement.

An HIV-1 RNA viral load EQA program has been provided by QCMD.
The program consists of:
  • 4 x HIV panel distributions/ year
  • Online reporting
  • Individual lab, NHLS-specific and executive reports
  • Data available for analysis

Laboratory training manuals as well as staff training has been conducted for all viral load sites as to the importance of EQA in the lab, running of the EQA panels, online result entering and result interpretation.

Head of Unit:
Dr Sergio Carmona
E-mail: sergio.carmona@nhls.ac.za
Tel: +27 11 489-8496