A Change in Approach to Prenatal HIV Screening

Kass, Nancy
July 2000
American Journal of Public Health;Jul2000, Vol. 90 Issue 7, p1026
Academic Journal
This article discusses a change in the approach to prenatal HIV screening. When the issue is examined solely from the perspective of public health, the practical implication of these studies is that pregnant women should be tested for HIV and those found to be infected should take antiretroviral therapy while pregnant. Ethics, however require, that public health, be realized in the least restrictive way possible and that values other than maximizing the public health be considered. Empirical data,then, must be gathered to determine whether mandatory screening programs are any more effective at reducing perinatal transmission than voluntary programs. Data reviewed by the committee suggests that perinatal transmission continues to occur mostly because of 2 of steps as a significant number of HIV-infected women, particularly those who are substance abusers, do not receive prenatal care and the offering of HIV testing to women who are in care is from universal. A study in Minnesota found that about half of providers screened only high-risk patients and 8% did not screen at all.


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