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Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Print version ISSN 0042-9686


KIMMEL, April D; LOSINA, Elena; FREEDBERG, Kenneth A  and  GOLDIE, Sue J. Diagnostic tests in HIV management: a review of clinical and laboratory strategies to monitor HIV-infected individuals in developing countries. Bull World Health Organ [online]. 2006, vol.84, n.7, pp.581-588. ISSN 0042-9686.

We conducted a systematic review on the performance of diagnostic tests for clinical and laboratory monitoring of HIV-infected adults in developing countries. Diagnostic test information collected from computerized databases, bibliographies and the Internet were categorized as clinical (non-laboratory patient information), immunologic (information from immunologic laboratory tests), or virologic (information from virologic laboratory tests). Of the 51 studies selected for the review 28 assessed immunologic tests, 12 virologic tests and seven clinical and immunologic tests. Methods of performance evaluation were primarily sensitivity and specificity for the clinical category and correlation coefficients for immunologic and virologic categories. In the clinical category, the majority of test performance measures was reported as >70% sensitive and >65% specific. In the immunologic category, correlation coefficients ranged from r = 0.54 to r = 0.99 for different CD4 count enumeration techniques, while correlation for CD4 and total lymphocyte counts was between r = 0.23 and r = 0.74. In the virologic category, correlation coefficients for different human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) ribonucleic acid (RNA) quantification techniques ranged from r = 0.54 to r = 0.90. Future research requires consensus on designing studies, and collecting and reporting data useful for decision-makers. We recommend classifying information into clinically relevant categories, using a consistent definition of disease across studies and providing measures of both association and accuracy.

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