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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
December 4, 2002

HIV Testing Among Pregnant Women—United States and Canada, 1998-2001

JAMA. 2002;288(21):2679-2680. doi:10.1001/jama.288.21.2679

MMWR. 2002;51:1013-1016

3 tables omitted

Since 1994, the availability of increasingly effective antiretroviral drugs for both the prevention of perinatal human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission and maternal treatment has resulted in a greater emphasis on prenatal HIV testing and substantial increases in prenatal testing rates. In 2000, preliminary data indicated that 766 (93%) of 824 HIV-infected women in 25 states knew their HIV status before delivery (CDC, unpublished data, 2002). However, an estimated 280-370 perinatal HIV transmissions continue to occur in the United States each year.1 The primary strategy to prevent perinatal HIV transmission is to maximize prenatal HIV testing of pregnant women. States and Canadian provinces have implemented three different prenatal HIV-testing approaches. To assess their effectiveness, CDC reviewed prenatal HIV-antibody testing rates associated with these approaches. Medical record data suggest that the "opt-in" voluntary testing approach is associated with lower testing rates than either the "opt-out" voluntary testing approach or the mandatory newborn HIV testing approach.