Background The high incidence of HIV and syphilis is a health problem in low-income, isolated and large populations, and one of the most affected sectors is the one of pregnant women. Therefore it is necessary to develop and implement methods and procedures to detect and follow new positive cases for those diseases. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the usefulness of the collection of dried blood on philtre paper for the diagnosis of HIV and syphilis in pre-natal screening programmes in areas of difficult access.
Methods Dried blood samples on philtre paper were collected and sent to them by mail without any special condition to the laboratory to be processed. They were studied for the presence of antibodies against HIV or syphilis antigens by ELISA. Reactive samples were confirmed by employing a rapid immunochromatography test to both diseases. Finally, classification between HIV type 1 or 2 was performed by rapid immunoblot test.
Results Of the samples tested for HIV by ELISA, the 0.37% was positive, so 44 samples showed specific antibodies. They all confirmed when rapid immunochromatography test was used. In addition, 100% of the samples classified as HIV type 1 by using the rapid immunoblot test. In the case of the samples studied for syphilis by ELISA, the positive ones were the 3.12%, being confirmed by the rapid test all 41 positive samples.
Conclusion It was shown that the use of dried blood collected on philtre paper proved to be a cheap, safe and quick way for the screening of infectious diseases, such as HIV and syphilis, in populations as sensitive as pregnant women. It was also found that, although the test of choice for this type of work is the ELISA, other tests such as rapid tests can be used as a confirmatory test
- dried blood sample
- pre-natal screening
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