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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 for HIV, 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 is restricted to the following locations:

• Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre (SMCHC) PSC
• South Calgary Health Centre (SCHC) PSC
• All Calgary acute care hospital outpatient laboratories
Refer to HIV Viral Load Requisition REQ9023MI  for days and hours of operation.

Patient requests for collection at rural sites must contact SAC to make prior arrangements and schedule an approved appointment time.

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: CLS staff refer to PX-QR4090 Viral Load-HIV for detailed instructions for collection, specimen handling and data entry for HIV Viral Load testing.

Specimen Handling HIV Plasma Viral Load, Drug Resistance, and Plasma HIV V3 Genotyping specimens must be centrifuged within 4 hours of collection. If specimens cannot be centrifuged at the collection site, send immediately stat to DSC Microbiology.

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

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.

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.

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

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