Daniel M. Okpaise

Conference 2022 Live Talk


Talk title

Molecular Detection of HIV-1 DNA in HIV-exposed infants previously diagnosed negative


Authors and Affiliations

Okpaise, M. D.1, Olusola, B. A.1, Ogunsemowo, O.1, Faneye, A.1, Lalemi, O. M.1, Chukwu, G. C.1, Olaleye, O. D.1, Odaibo, G. N.1

1. Department of Virology, University College Hospital, Ibadan.




There are currently 2.6 million HIV-infected children globally with about 5.4% of these children residing in Nigeria (NACA, 2016; UNAIDS, 2018). Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is used for early infant diagnosis (EID). PCR is used due to its high sensitivity and specificity with most of the commercially available assays targeting the gag and LTR regions. However, some researchers have reported misdiagnosis of HIV-1 infection in HIV-exposed infants (HEIs) due to primer mismatches. This study was undertaken to detect HIV DNA using in-house primers targeting the nef gene among HIV-exposed infants (HEIs) previously diagnosed negative by a commercial PCR assay.


A total of 102 whole blood samples of HEIs previously tested as negative by the COBAS CAP/CTM v2.0 assay at the Department of Virology, University of Ibadan were included in this cross-sectional study. Genomic DNA was extracted from blood samples using the guanidium thiocyanate protocol for genomic DNA extraction, then an in-house nested PCR with primers targeting the nef gene was used for the molecular detection of HIV-1 DNA in the samples. At the end of PCR, the amplicons were visualized for expected band size (345bp) using Gel electrophoresis. Demographic and clinical information including gender, age and mother’s HAART status were extracted from the laboratory’s records. Categorical variables were tested using Chi-square at p<0.05.


Out of the 102 samples analysed, 20 had detectable HIV-1 DNA giving an overall HIV-1 DNA prevalence of 19.6% among the HEIs in this study. A prevalence of 65% was observed among 0-
6 months’ age group and 35% among ≥ 12 months’ age group. The rate was similar in male and female babies. The rate of detection of HIV DNA was higher among children whose mothers hadn’t received any form of HAART (50%) when compared to HEIs whose mothers received one form of HAART (19.4%).


Findings from this study have an enormous implication on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 and may require a review of the early infant diagnosis algorithm. However, there is the need to use a larger sample size from different parts of the country to confirm the findings of this study.