Is Routine HIV Testing for Pregnant Women A Good Idea?

Herizons, Spring 1999 | Go to article overview

Is Routine HIV Testing for Pregnant Women A Good Idea?


Is Routine HIV Testing for Pregnant Women A Good Idea?

The Canadian Medical Association and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada recommends that HIV testing and counselling be offered to all pregnant women, with their informed consent.

The development of anti-retroviral drug therapies and the success of the drug AZT in reducing the rate of mother-to-child HIV transmission from 25% to 8% has resulted in calls for increased testing of pregnant women in Canada. AZT is administered to the woman during pregnancy, labour and delivery and to the newborn for the first 6 weeks.

According to Tasha Yovetich, manager of National Programs at the Canadian AIDS Society, HIV testing for pregnant women varies across Canada. Writing in the Canadian Women's Health Network newsletter, Network, she describes three policy categories:

1. Voluntarily Offering Testing to Pregnant Women with Risk Factors. Pregnant women with specific risk factors are selected through a physician's assessment. This is the policy in Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

2. Voluntarily Offering Testing to all Pregnant Women. Pregnant women are counselled about the risks of HIV transmission during pregnancy and offered HIV testing. This is the official policy in Manitoba, the North West Territories and the Yukon. In Manitoba, the Advisory Committee on Infectious Diseases has recommended further that the woman's prenatal record indicate that the HIV test being offered and whether it was accepted or refused.

3. Routinely Testing All Pregnant Women (or opt-out). HIV becomes part of the routine tests performed during a prenatal exam. In theory, the test is still voluntary; however there is concern that placing the HIV test on a form with other tests, such as rubella and Rh factor, may mean the patient's consent is implied rather than specifically obtained. Alberta, BC, Quebec and Newfoundland use this process, and Ontario plans to follow suit. In Quebec and BC the HIV test is not included on the general prenatal lab form, but is on a separate form, to make sure women are asked specifically about the HIV test.

According to Yovetich, "lowering the rate of mother to child transmissions is an important and worthwhile prevention goal," however she adds that "an emphasis on AZT to decrease transmission during pregnancy has led in some cases to HIV-positive women taking only AZT during pregnancy." This is problematic because single drug therapy is recognized as not the best care in the treatment of HIV. The Canadian Association of HIV Researchers conference last May revealed that 20 of the 40 women taking antiretroviral therapy were taking AZT on its own.

According to Janet Madsen, of the Positive Women's Network in Vancouver, HIV testing of pregnant women is a feminist issue because it raises issues of informed consent and social factors as well as medical issues.

"They've had a sense that they are in a monogamous relationship," says Madsen. "And to receive such a life-altering diagnosis during pregnancy can be extremely traumatic" for women, who experience anger, guilt and the possibility that they and their child may die because of the diagnosis. Madsen says a physician education program is needed to help women deal with the "devastating news" given during what is typically a happy time of their lives. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Is Routine HIV Testing for Pregnant Women A Good Idea?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.