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Matern Child Health J. 2010 Mar;14(2):268-73. doi: 10.1007/s10995-009-0460-7. Epub 2009 Mar 4.

Disparity in hospital utilization of rapid HIV-1 testing for women in labor with undocumented HIV status.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy, Immunology and Infectious Disease, University of Medicine and Dentistry/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, One Robert Wood Johnson Place, MEB 236, New Brunswick, NJ 08903-0019, USA.



The implementation of rapid HIV-1 testing for women in labor with undocumented HIV status is an essential tool for the prevention of perinatal HIV transmission. Unfortunately, practices of rapid HIV testing for women with unknown HIV status in labor have not been studied. We evaluated the utilization of rapid HIV testing prior to and after implementation of CDC recommendations as well as factors that may affect the utilization rate.


participants were randomly selected from all deliveries (n = 2,359) six months prior to (n = 422) and after (n = 403) hospital implementation of the rapid HIV testing protocol. We reviewed prenatal and labor/delivery records to identify HIV testing history during pregnancy and HIV status at admission; we studied Rapid HIV testing utilization in respect to the implementation of the CDC recommendation; and we analyzed maternal sociodemographic and perinatal factors in association with rapid HIV testing utilization.


Unknown HIV status at admission was recorded for 22.0% of women who gave birth prior to, and 18.1% after, implementation of the hospital policy due to either no offering or no acceptance of HIV testing during the pregnancy. Among those eligible for rapid HIV testing, 7.6% were tested prior to, and 9.6% were tested after, implementation of the new policy. As compared with tested women, women not tested were more likely to be white, married, and to have received prenatal primary care from a private physician.


We found that low utilization of rapid HIV-1 testing for women in labor with undocumented HIV status is mostly associated with the sociodemographic inequality of the population of women served. Continuous education of health care providers and a systematic review of rapid HIV testing utilization in the hospital setting are needed in order to achieve successful implementation of the current CDC recommendations.

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