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HIV Plasma Viral Load

Source Blood
Mnemonic

M QHI
Mnemonic is for HIV Viral Load only.

ARCV
Mnemonic is for Archive Plasma Sample.

A mnemonic is not used for any additional tests such as "HIV Resistance"

Specimen Requirements

HIV Viral Load testing is used to monitor disease status and effectiveness of therapy in patients previously diagnosed with HIV. For diagnostic testing of HIV, please refer HIV Serology.

HIV Viral Load testing is only performed on patients registered with the Southern Alberta Clinic (SAC). SAC must be contacted (403-955-6399) to obtain the HIV Viral Load Requisition REQ9023MI when testing is required. HIV Viral Load testing ordered on any other requisition will not be processed. For out of region patients collected at CLS, attending physicians should obtain the HIV Viral Load Requisition REQ9023MI from SAC.

Collection Requirements for HIV Plasma Viral Load
A Plasma Preparation Tube (PPT) is the collection tube of choice.

Adult Patients:  collect 1 x 5 mL Plasma Preparation Tube (PPT).
Pediatric Patients: collect 1 x 5 mL Plasma Preparation Tube (PPT) or 1 x 3 mL lavender top EDTA tube, depending on patient weight (CLS staff refer to PX-SC520 Venipuncture Attachment 3: Monitoring Blood Volume).

Collection Requirements for Associated HIV Testing
HIV Drug Resistance Testing (Genotype), Plasma HIV V3 Genotyping (Tropism), Proviral HIV DNA V3 Genotyping (Tropism) and Archive Plasma Sample: collect as indicated on the requisition.

Note: If only able to collect one tube and additional HIV tests are requested, do not open the tube. Transport the tube stat to DSC Microbiology to aliquot.

Note: SCHC and CRL sites obtain PPT collection tube from SMCHC.

Specimen Handling

HIV Plasma Viral Load, Drug Resistance, and Plasma HIV V3 Genotyping specimens must be centrifuged within 4 hours of collection.

PPT: centrifuge at 1100 rcf for 10 minutes. Do not aliquot.
EDTA: only centrifuge if BSC is available
  • Centrifuge at 1100 rcf for 10 minutes.
  • If BSC is not available, send stat to DSC Microbiology.

•If specimens are not centrifuged at collection, send stat to DSC Microbiology. Specimens must be received within 4 hours.

Proviral HIV DNA V3 specimens must not be centrifuged.

All HIV specimens are shipped using Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) guidelines. Send the plasma or unspun specimen to the DSC with a completed viral load requisition.

CLS staff refer to PX-QR4090  Viral Load – HIV for detailed instructions for handling and data entry for HIV Viral load testing

Additional Information

Test performed by Abbott Real Time HIV-1 Assay.

Inquiries by healthcare professionals for HIV Viral Load results: contact the Laboratory Information Centre (LIC) at 403-770-3600
PCV13 Special Archive Sample must be requested on the blue CLS PCV13 Research Requisition.

Collection Locations

Only the following two Patient Service Centres collect HIV Viral Load Specimens:

• Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre (SMCHC) PSC: Monday to Friday, 7:00 am to 3:50 pm
• South Calgary Health Centre (SCHC) PSC: Monday to Friday, 7:00 am to 5:00 pm

Acute Care Collection Sites:
Specimens may also be collected at any acute care outpatient lab: ACH, PLC, RGH, SHC, FMC Women’s Health Centre, and FMC Special Services Building. Refer to requisition for days and hours of operation.

Testing Location CLS Microbiology
Testing Frequency Twice weekly
Alternate Name(s)

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