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Evaluation of Dried Blood Spots with a Multiplex Assay for Measuring Recent HIV-1 Infection
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    Laboratory-based HIV tests for recent infection (TRIs), which primarily measure a specific serological biomarker(s) that distinguishes recent from long-term HIV infection, have facilitated the estimation of population-based incidence. Dried blood spots (DBS) on filter paper are an attractive sample source for HIV surveillance, given the simplified and cost-effective methods of specimen collection, storage, and shipment. Here, we evaluated the use of DBS in conjunction with an in-house multiplex TRI, the HIV-1-specific Bio-Plex assay, which measures direct antibody binding and avidity to multiple HIV-1 analytes. The assay performance was comparable between matched plasma and DBS samples from HIV-1 infected individuals obtained from diverse sources. The coefficients of variation, comparing the median antibody reactivity for each analyte between plasma and DBS, ranged from 2.78% to 9.40% and the correlation coefficients between the two sample types ranged from 0.89 to 0.97, depending on the analyte. The correlation in antibody reactivity between laboratory and site-prepared DBS for each analyte ranged from 0.87 to 0.98 and from 0.90 to 0.97 between site-prepared DBS and plasma. The correlation in assay measures between plasma and DBS indicate that the sample types can be used interchangeably with the Bio-Plex format, without negatively impacting the misclassification rate of the assay.

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