Pregnant women should routinely be offered HIV tests

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 02 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1333
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London

    All pregnant women in the United Kingdom should have access to testing for HIV infection as part of routine antenatal care in a major effort to reduce the risk of vertical transmission.

    This recommendation, from an intercollegiate working party, is based on the growing recognition that many women do not realise that they are HIV positive until their babies are diagnosed with AIDS related illnesses. The working party was set up last year after research showed that more than seven in 10 pregnant women who were HIV positive did not know they were infected with the virus. The chairman, Dr Graham Davies, consultant paediatric immunologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said, “This means that babies are born with vertically acquired HIV infection, which may be preventable if mothers are tested early in pregnancy and steps taken to reduce …

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