Change to HIV Specimen Collection

Date: 01/01/2019

Effective immediately the recommended specimen type for HIV Antigen-Antibody Panel 5th Generation is EDTA PLASMA.

Serum samples will remain acceptable, but are no longer the preferred specimen type.

Samples reported as REACTIVE for HIV- 1 antibody and/or HIV-2 antibody are considered presumptively positive. PLASMA samples will automatically reflex for confirmatory testing. SERUM samples cannot be reflexed; plasma redraw is required.

Please note:  Two 4.0 mL EDTA (lavender) tubes are required. Plasma must be spun and separated from red cells within 24 hours. Transfer EDTA plasma from both tubes to one polypropylene Northern Light Laboratory transport tube and clearly label as “plasma”. Store and transport refrigerated. The Northern Light Laboratory Directory of Services ( has been updated to reflect this change. 

Please distribute this memo to all of the appropriate staff at your facility.

For more information or if you have any questions please contact Clinical Microbiology at 973-6980.