, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 413-417
Date: 13 Jun 2006

HIV Testing Among U.S. Women During Prenatal Care: Findings from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth

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Abstract

Objectives: To measure progress toward the US Public Health Service recommended goal that HIV screening be part of the routine battery of prenatal tests for all pregnant women, using data from a nationally-representative reproductive health survey. Methods: Data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) measure self-reported prenatal HIV testing for all women who had a completed pregnancy in the 12 months before interview. We estimated the percentage with a prenatal test for categories defined by major socio-economic groups, HIV risk, knowledge of HIV treatment, and access to health care. Results: Sixty-nine percent of 748 recently pregnant women reported receiving a prenatal HIV test. The percentage tested was significantly higher for women with incomes below 300% of the poverty level (76%) and women who reported some degree of HIV risk (82%), suggesting that prenatal care providers offer and encourage testing based on perceived risk, even though universal HIV screening is recommended. Testing was also higher among women with knowledge of interventions to prevent perinatal HIV transmission (74%), suggesting that more public information on these treatments might be helpful. Conclusions: A national estimate indicates that nearly one in 3 recently pregnant women reported they were not tested for HIV during prenatal care. Studies showing that prenatal testing for other infectious diseases can approach 100% suggest that a similar level of testing is attainable for perinatal HIV screening, particularly if it is incorporated into the routine package of prenatal tests and procedures offered to all pregnant women.