Volume 1, Number 3—July 1995
News and Notes
Tenth Annual ASTPHLD Conference on Human Retrovirus Testing
The Tenth Annual Conference on Human Retrovirus Testing, sponsored by the Association of State and Territorial Public Health Laboratory Directors (ASTPHLD), was held March 6 to 9, 1995, in Reno, Nevada. The conference, which was attended by more than 300 representatives of public and private sector laboratories as well as test kit manufacturers, emphasized three themes: new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) variants, international issues, and HIV testing of newborns. The topics discussed included sequence data for type O isolates, the search for new HIV variants, zidovudine (AZT) resistance, decreased maternal-neonatal transmission due to AZT prophylaxis, results of the national anonymous survey of HIV prevalence in the United States, and the ethical concerns of perinatal screening.
An international perspective on HIV testing was brought to the conference by presentations that focused on India and Latin America. Results were given of a project, funded by a 12-month study grant from the World AIDS Foundation, to provide training on HIV testing to laboratories in India. Four Indian facilitators were trained in the United States; they provided translation and other assistance to eight ASTPHLD faculty, who gave workshops in four training centers in India. This training, which focused on enzyme immunoassay, linked trainees with staff from Indian reference centers and established training materials and trainers for future workshops to be conducted by Indian staff.
Laboratory aspects of HIV testing in Latin American and the Caribbean were also discussed by a member of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), who described the spectrum of HIV incidence rates and testing algorithms. PAHO is asking countries of the region to assess their algorithms in terms of sensitivity, specificity, and cost. PAHO aims to support national laboratories by providing guidelines and quality assurance. Proficiency testing, which is encouraged, will be provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
ASTPHLD's 11th Annual Human Retrovirus Conference is set for March 6-8, 1996, in Orlando, Florida. Requests for additional information are available; FAX request to 202-887-5098.