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J Am Med Womens Assoc (1972). 1997 Spring;52(2):89-92.

Correlates of voluntary human immunodeficiency virus antibody testing reported by postpartum women.

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Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center, USA.



This study examined attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors reported by postpartum women in an AIDS epicenter toward voluntary human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) counseling and testing.


From February 1993 to March 1994, a convenience sample of 544 women underwent postpartum interviews at a municipal hospital in the Bronx, New York City. Demographic information and obstetric, sexual, drug use, and HIV testing histories were elicited, and selected variables were abstracted from the medical charts. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed.


Seventy-nine percent of women were voluntarily tested for HIV. In the multivariate model, the strongest individual correlate of HIV testing was a history of drug use. Other independent correlates were being age 25 or younger, having only one child, knowing someone who died of AIDS, and having stigma-related concerns about testing. In univariate analysis, women with a drug risk were more than nine times as likely as others to have delivered without receiving any prenatal care during this pregnancy.


Voluntary counseling and testing programs can succeed in testing a majority of hospitalized childbearing women. However, women at risk of drug use, who more often reported testing, were probably tested outside of prenatal care settings. Efforts to reduce vertical transmission of HIV infection must focus on bringing more women, especially women who use drugs, into prenatal care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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