Diagnostic Serology Team
The Diagnostic Serology Team performs serological screening and testing for a large variety of infectious diseases. Specimens are tested for programs that include Maternal & Child Health, Family Planning, and Mental Health & Mental Retardation. Tests for these programs include screens for Hepatitis B, Rubella (German Measles), and syphilis. Tests are also performed that confirm disease outbreaks including measles, and less commonly encountered diseases such as Hantavirus and arboviral encephalitis. The team is staffed by six microbiologists with backgrounds in Biology, Microbiology and Medical Technology. The majority of specimens submitted are serum, but in some cases plasma and Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) can also be tested. On occasion the team also performs tests on animals for surveillance of diseases such as Plague and Hantavirus. Any questions about testing or interpretation of results may be addressed to the Diagnostic Serology Section Chief, at (512) 458-7514. For a complete list of the tests performed by this team along with descriptions of each disease, see the Serology Tests page. Click here to view the Srology Specimen Acceptance Criteria (PDF 87kb).
The HIV/STD Serology team performs serological screening and confirmatory testing for two sexually transmitted diseases, Human Immunodeficiency Virus 1 (HIV-1), the causative agent of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and Treponema pallidum, the causative agent of syphilis. We test specimens for clinics, hospitals, blood and plasma centers and physicians all across the state of Texas. We perform an average of 17,000 HIV screens per month, with a positivity rate of 1.5%. In the syphilis lab, we perform about 8400 screens per month, with a positivity rate of about 5%. The lab is staffed by seven technicians, with degrees in Microbiology or Medical Technology. The majority of specimens submitted are serums, although HIV testing can also be done on plasma, dried blood spot specimens and using a new method of specimen collection, the OraSure device, which collects a sample of gingival fluid from the mouth. Testing is also performed on cerebrospinal fluid, for neurosyphilis. We participate in a number of serosurveillance programs across the state, to determine the rates of STDs in various populations, such as adolescents, patients in drug treatment facilities, people in the Texas prison system, women of childbearing age, and young women of specific ethnic backgrounds. Any questions about testing or interpretation of results may be addressed to the HIV/STD Team, at (512) 458-7657. For a complete list of the tests performed in this section along with descriptions of each disease, see the Serology Tests page.