Collection of Dried Blood Spot Specimen for Viral Load Testing

June 17, 2019

In 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended viral load (VL) monitoring as the gold standard for monitoring the effectiveness of antiviral therapy (ART). One of the key barriers to VL testing in resource-limited settings is the lack of efficient specimen transport systems, to allow plasma or whole blood samples to reach the testing laboratories in the required timeline to guaranteeing a quality assured result. The use of dried blood spots (DBS) instead of whole blood or plasma as a specimen type for HIV-1 viral load VL testing facilitates the decentralization of specimen collection and can increase access to VL testing in resource-limited settings. This video, produced by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in English, French, and Portuguese, shows the recommended step-by-step process for the collection of dried blood spot DBS samples for quality assured VL results.