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HIV Incidence Surveillance of HIV (InzSurv-HIV)

Heads: Dr. Kirsten Hanke & Dr. Karolin Meixenberger


Since there can be an unknown period, often several years, between the time of HIV infection and the HIV diagnosis, no statements can be made about the current course of infection using the HIV registration data according to the Infection Protection Act (IfSG). Various serological methods have existed for a number of years to distinguish between recently acquired (approx. < 6 months) and long-standing HIV infections in the context of epidemiological investigations. These serological tests are carried out as part of the InzSurv-HIV study with serum or plasma samples from people who have a new HIV diagnosis that is notifiable according to section 7 IfSG. By continuously recording the proportion of recent new HIV diagnoses, risk populations and regions can be identified and prevention messages can be adapted. Furthermore, by continuously determining recently acquired HIV infections, temporal trends in different risk groups can be observed. For this purpose, the serological data are linked to the epidemiological data (link to FG34).

The BED capture enzyme immunoassay was used for the investigation until the end of 2018. Since the sensitivity (81.7%) and specificity (89.1%) of the test are too low for diagnostic purposes, its application is limited to epidemiological studies and it cannot be used for individual diagnostics. In the test, new HIV diagnoses that are presumably recently discovered and for which there is information about a clinically diagnosed AIDS-defining disease (CDC stage C) are counted among the longer-standing infections. The modified GenScreen HIV-1/-2 avidity test has been used since 2019 because the BED-CEIA is no longer manufactured. With a sensitivity of 81.9% and a specificity of 90.3%, this test is also not suitable for individual diagnostics. As part of the Integrated Genomic Surveillance (IGS-HIV), which is also based on the InzSurv-HIV sample material, the extent to which the duration of the infection can be estimated using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) data is currently being evaluated.

Information for submitters of the InzSurv-HIV & IGS-HIV

In order to fulfill our mandate formulated in the Infection Protection Act in the best possible way, we use modern molecular processes. Viral RNA is isolated from serum/plasma and then amplified and sequenced. We process both regular serum/plasma samples and filter cards onto which serum or plasma has been dripped (DSS/DPS). In the case of the latter, the higher fragmentation and degradation of the viral RNA is proving to be increasingly problematic. Since July 1st, 2020, we have therefore been gradually switching from filter cards to sending in regular serum/plasma samples.

For a successful HIV sequencing we need at least 500 µl serum/plasma and the sample material should be damaged as little as possible by storage or freeze-thaw cycles.

In the course of a pilot phase, it has been shown that a weekly or event-related direct mailing is logistically advantageous for many senders.
If you are interested in switching from DSS/DPS to serum/plasma or have not yet sent any samples to the RKI but would like to send us samples in the future, please feel free to contact us.

A quick guide to sending serum/plasma samples by post can be found here:

You will receive the shipping material for serum/plasma samples from us free of charge. Sample transport by courier or post is also free of charge for you.

Contact details

Shipping management

Sabrina Neumann
Telephone +49 (0)30-18754-2243
Fax: +49 (0)30-18754-2605
Email: Molsurv-HIV [at]

Heads of InzSurv-HIV & IGS-HIV

Dr. Kirsten Hanke
Telephone +49 (0)30-18754-2639
Fax: +49 (0)30-18754-2605
Email: Molsurv-HIV [at]

Dr. Karolin Meixenberger
Telephone +49 (0)30-18754-2277
Fax: +49 (0)30-18754-2605
Email: Molsurv-HIV [at]

Date: 22.01.2024


  • Pantke A, Hoebel J, An der Heiden M, Michalski N, Gunsenheimer-Bartmeyer B, Hanke K, Bannert N, Bremer V, Koppe U (2022): The impact of regional socioeconomic deprivation on the timing of HIV diagnosis: a cross-sectional study in Germany.
    BMC Infect Dis. 22 (1): 258. doi: 10.1186/s12879-022-07168-x. more

  • Hauser A, an der Heiden M, Meixenberger K, Han O, Fiedler S, Hanke K, Koppe U, Hofmann A, Bremer V, Gunsenheimer-Bartmeyer B, Kücherer C, Bannert N (2019): Evaluation of a BioRad Avidity assay for identification of recent HIV-1 infections using dried serum or plasma spots.
    J. Virol. Methods 266 (April): 114–120. Epub Feb 7. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2019.02.002. more

  • Hofmann A, Hauser A, Zimmermann R, Santos-Hövener C, Bätzing-Feigenbaum J, Wildner S, Kücherer C, Bannert N, Hamouda O, Bremer V, Gunsenheimer-Bartmeyer B (2017): Surveillance of recent HIV infections among newly diagnosed HIV cases in Germany between 2008 and 2014
    BMC Infect. Dis. 17 (1): 484. Epub Jul 11. doi: 10.1186/s12879-017-2585-4. more

  • Meixenberger K, Hauser A, Jansen K, Pouran Yousef K, Fiedler S, von Kleist M, Norley S, Somogyi S, Hamouda O, Bannert N, Gunsenheimer-Bartmeyer B, Kücherer C (2014): Assessment of ambiguous base calls in HIV-1 pol population sequences as a biomarker to identify recent infections in HIV-1 incidence studies
    J. Clin. Microbiol. 52 (8): 2977-2983. Epub Jun 11. doi: 10.1128/JCM.03289-13. more

  • Hauser A, Santos-Hövener C, Meixenberger K, Zimmermann R, Somogyi S, Fiedler S, Hofmann A, Gunsenheimer-Bartmeyer B, Jansen K, Hamouda O, Bannert N, Kücherer C (2014): Improved testing of recent HIV-1 infections with the BioRad Avidity Assay compared to the Limiting Antigen Avidity Assay and BED Capture Enzyme Immunoassay: Evaluation using reference sample panels from the German Seroconverter Cohort
    PLoS ONE 9 (6): e98038. Epub June 3. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098038. more