Laboratory testing of HIV in Victoria is delivered via a two-tiered system. The blood bank and approved public and private laboratories undertake screening tests to detect antibodies to HIV. All reactive specimens are referred to VIDRL, where confirmatory testing by western blot is performed.
Confirmation of antibody status by western blot is required for diagnosis of HIV infection and all newly diagnosed cases are notified to the Department of Human Services, Victoria (DHS) by VIDRL.
The laboratory also performs HIV antibody screening tests for the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre and other sexual health clinics.
The serology reference laboratory provides specimens to the National Serology Reference Laboratory for inclusion in quality assessment panels which are distributed to all Victorian testing sites three times per year. Results are analysed and reported to participating laboratories and the Department of Human Services.