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MedGenMed. 2004 Jun 16;6(2):52.

Voluntary HIV counseling and testing of pregnant women--an assessment of compliance with Michigan public health statutes.

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  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases and Quality Healthcare, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

First, to evaluate compliance with Michigan's laws mandating universal, voluntary HIV counseling and testing (VCT) of all pregnant women who provide informed consent (ie, the "opt-out strategy"). Second, to assess the acceptability of and agreement to VCT.

METHODS:

Women who delivered a live infant at a large, urban academic medical center were interviewed before hospital discharge. Obstetric and prenatal medical records were abstracted to document that VCT was offered, accepted, or declined and that pre- and posttest counseling were provided and test results noted.

RESULTS:

Our survey of 491 postpartum women interviewed from February 1998 through January 1999 revealed that 83% reported that they were offered VCT; of those, 95% reported that they had agreed to testing. Uninsured women were least likely to undergo VCT; no other demographic, social, or behavioral characteristics were associated with VCT. Nor was VCT more likely to occur according to providers' different practice settings (ie, "private" vs publicly funded). Most women reported that they did not find VCT offensive or threatening, although only 49% reported that they felt "very comfortable," refusing testing.

CONCLUSION:

These results suggest the opt-out strategy for VCT, as currently practiced in Michigan, can effectively promote the US Public Health Service testing goals. Offering VCT with the understanding that it may be refused without risk is essential. Additional educational interventions about HIV infection during pregnancy and perinatal HIV-transmission interruption were requested by women in our study and should be widely promoted. Given that 95% of women agreed to VCT, mandatory testing without consent is not needed to achieve federal testing benchmarks and seems ethically problematic.

PMID:
15266277
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1395799
Free PMC Article
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