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Health Agencies Update
November 18, 1998

HIV Testing During Pregnancy

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JAMA. 1998;280(19):1649. doi:10.1001/jama.280.19.1649-JHA80009-2-1

All pregnant women should be routinely tested for HIV—and informed of this test—as part of prenatal care, and such testing should no longer necessitate the extensive pretest counseling advised by current federal guidelines, according to a new report from a committee of the Institute of Medicine.

Treating HIV-infected pregnant women in the United States with antiviral drugs has greatly reduced the transmission of the virus to infants, contributing to a 43% decline in new pediatric AIDS cases between 1992 and 1996. But because many women are not tested and so do not receive treatment, the number of children born with HIV is still unacceptably high, the report noted.

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