Seminar #17

Systems Strengthening for Viral Load Scale Up

Roche Diagnostics

No invitations necessary; open to all conference registrants

Monday, 5 December
CTICC room location: 1.41-1.42
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Laboratory scientists and ministries of health.


Viral load (VL) monitoring is the gold standard for detection of treatment failure in patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART); however, availability of viral load testing in resource-limited settings has been severely restricted due to factors such as infrastructure requirements, test complexity, and cost. In addition, access to VL testing is often limited because laboratories capable of performing the test are centralized, while most patients live in peri-urban and rural settings. Therefore, patient specimens must be collected and transported to these facilities for testing, a difficult process.

Recent developments, including the ability to use dried blood spots (DBS), have made expansion of VL testing more feasible, but challenges still remain. This seminar will bring together VL experts, including country representatives, to share experiences with scaling up VL and to discuss available options to reach the final ‘90’.

Technology Options

  • Range of options – plasma, dried DBS, and point-of-care (POC) technologies
  • Appropriate settings and usage for the various options

Systems Requirements

  • Procurement
  • Transport
  • Tools
  • Available tools and technologies to support VL scale up
  • How to reach the final ‘90’

At the end of this seminar, countries will have a better understanding of the types of issues encountered with scaling up VL and will be familiar with the available VL technologies and tools to improve uptake.


  • To provide attendees with a forum for sharing lessons learned in scaling up VL programs
  • To provide options and tools for VL scale up
  • To promote and guide strengthening of systems that will support VL scale up
  • To support the scale up of VL testing


Dr. Rossanna Peeling, International Diagnostics Centre, Regulatory Harmonization of sub Sahara Africa.

Dr. Debi Boeras, International Diagnostics Centre, Technology Options for Viral Load Implementation.

Knut Seifert, Consultant, Loss to Follow Up – Overcoming System & Program Challenges