Improving Clinical Laboratory Efficiency: Introduction of Systems for the Diagnosis and Monitoring of HIV Infection

Marta Alvarez, Natalia Chueca, Vicente Guillot, María del Carmen Bernal, Federico García*
Servicio de Microbiología, Hospital Universitario San Cecilio, Granada, Spain

© Alvarez et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Servicio de Microbiología, Hospital Universitario San Cecilio, Av, Dr Oloriz 16, Granada, Spain; Tel: 0034-958023865; E-mail:


Since the first tests for identifying individuals with suspected human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection were introduced in the mid-1980s, diagnostic virology testing has greatly evolved. The technological advances, automating in the laboratories and the advances in molecular biology techniques have helped introduce invaluable laboratory methods for managing HIV patients. Tests for diagnosis, specially for screening HIV antibodies, are now fully automated; in the same way, tests for monitoring HIV viral load (HIV RNA copies/ml of plasma), which is used for monitoring infection and response to antiretroviral treatment, are also fully automated; however, resistance testing, tropism determination and minor variant detection, which are used to make decisions for changing antiretroviral treatment regimens in patients failing therapy, still remain highly laborious and time consuming. This chapter will review the main aspects relating to the automating of the methods available for laboratory diagnosis as well as for monitoring of the HIV infection and determination of resistance to antiretrovirals and viral tropism.

Keywords: Diagnosis, hiv infection, monitoring, resistance testing, viral load, tropism..