Multi-centre evaluation of the determine HIV combo assay when used for point of care testing in a high risk clinic-based population

Damian P. Conway, Martin Holt, Anna McNulty, Deborah L. Couldwell, Don E. Smith, Stephen C. Davies, Philip Cunningham, Phillip Keen, Rebecca Guy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Determine HIV Combo (DHC) is the first point of care assay designed to increase sensitivity in early infection by detecting both HIV antibody and antigen. We conducted a large multi-centre evaluation of DHC performance in Sydney sexual health clinics. Methods: We compared DHC performance (overall, by test component and in early infection) with conventional laboratory HIV serology (fourth generation screening immunoassay, supplementary HIV antibody, p24 antigen and Western blot tests) when testing gay and bisexual men attending four clinic sites. Early infection was defined as either acute or recent HIV infection acquired within the last six months. Results: Of 3,190 evaluation specimens, 39 were confirmed as HIV-positive (12 with early infection) and 3,133 were HIV-negative by reference testing. DHC sensitivity was 87.2% overall and 94.4% and 0% for the antibody and antigen components, respectively. Sensitivity in early infection was 66.7% (all DHC antibody reactive) and the DHC antigen component detected none of nine HIV p24 antigen positive specimens. Median HIV RNA was higher in false negative than true positive cases (238,025 vs. 37,591 copies/ml; p = 0.022). Specificity overall was 99.4% with the antigen component contributing to 33% of false positives. Conclusions: The DHC antibody component detected two thirds of those with early infection, while the DHC antigen component did not enhance performance during point of care HIV testing in a high risk clinic-based population.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere94062
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


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