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July 24, 1996

HIV Counseling and Testing of Pregnant Women

Author Affiliations

University of California, San Francisco
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Michigan Ann Arbor

JAMA. 1996;276(4):283-284. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540040027026

To the Editor.  —The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all pregnant women and women of childbearing age be counseled and encouraged to be voluntarily tested for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),1 and California legally requires physicians to offer voluntary testing to all pregnant women.2 Furthermore, the US Senate and House recently agreed on a bill that could require states to demonstrate that 95% of pregnant women get tested in order to receive Ryan White funds.3The debate over whether testing should be mandatory, routine without explicit consent, or voluntary makes it important to assess physicians' beliefs about these policies and whether guidelines are being followed. We conducted a survey to examine physicians' self-reported beliefs and practices about HIV testing (n=121). Herein we report results concerning HIV testing of pregnant women, using a subsample of physicians who provide care for pregnant women (n=61). We