BMC Infect Dis 2011 Sep 26;11:254. Epub 2011 Sep 26.
University of Zurich, Institute of Medical Virology, Swiss National Center for Retroviruses, Zurich, Switzerland.
Background: Serologic testing algorithms for recent HIV seroconversion (STARHS) provide important information for HIV surveillance. We have shown that a patient's antibody reaction in a confirmatory line immunoassay (INNO-LIA HIV I/II Score, Innogenetics) provides information on the duration of infection. Here, we sought to further investigate the diagnostic specificity of various Inno-Lia algorithms and to identify factors affecting it.
Methods: Plasma samples of 714 selected patients of the Swiss HIV Cohort Study infected for longer than 12 months and representing all viral clades and stages of chronic HIV-1 infection were tested blindly by Inno-Lia and classified as either incident (up to 12 m) or older infection by 24 different algorithms. Of the total, 524 patients received HAART, 308 had HIV-1 RNA below 50 copies/mL, and 620 were infected by a HIV-1 non-B clade. Using logistic regression analysis we evaluated factors that might affect the specificity of these algorithms.
Results: HIV-1 RNA < 50 copies/mL was associated with significantly lower reactivity to all five HIV-1 antigens of the Inno-Lia and impaired specificity of most algorithms. Among 412 patients either untreated or with HIV-1 RNA ≥ 50 copies/mL despite HAART, the median specificity of the algorithms was 96.5% (range 92.0-100%). The only factor that significantly promoted false-incident results in this group was age, with false-incident results increasing by a few percent per additional year. HIV-1 clade, HIV-1 RNA, CD4 percentage, sex, disease stage, and testing modalities exhibited no significance. Results were similar among 190 untreated patients.
Conclusions: The specificity of most Inno-Lia algorithms was high and not affected by HIV-1 variability, advanced disease and other factors promoting false-recent results in other STARHS. Specificity should be good in any group of untreated HIV-1 patients.