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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 98, Issue 5, pp 379–382 | Cite as

Screening HIV in Pregnancy

A Survey of Prenatal Care Patients
  • Veronique Dorval
  • Kerri Ritchie
  • Andree GruslinEmail author
Article
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

Background

Women in Canada, as in the rest of the world, represent an increasing proportion of new HIV positive cases.1 In 2002, women accounted for 25% of all positive HIV tests reported in Canada;2 with the majority being in their childbearing years (15 to 39 years), perinatal transmission of HIV in Canada is cause for concern.2 Following the development of interventions that can effectively reduce vertical transmission rate, prenatal screening of HIV has become the first and most pivotal step in the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission.35 The purpose of this study was to assess how women’s knowledge and attitudes regarding HIV and HIV screening in pregnancy influence screening rates.

Method

A prospective anonymous survey of 231 women attending antenatal care clinics at a teaching university hospital or in a community clinic was conducted.

Results

In general, pregnant women supported universal HIV screening in the prenatal period. Women who previously had been tested for HIV and who did not perceive that they were at risk for contracting HIV were more likely to decline HIV testing in their current pregnancy. Overall knowledge regarding HIV and its transmission is less than optimal, particularly among those women who declined HIV testing.

Conclusion

Knowledge gaps exist between women accepting and declining prenatal HIV screening, particularly relating to benefits of screening. These results suggest that efforts have to continue to be put into educating the public but also, importantly, into changing current attitudes.

MeSH terms

HIV/AIDS screening HIV in pregnancy knowledge of HIV transmission HIV risk factors 

Résumé

Contexte

Au Canada comme ailleurs dans le monde, les femmes représentent une proportion croissante des nouveaux cas de séropositivité pour le VIH1. En 2002, les femmes comptaient pour 25 % des tests positifs pour le VIH déclarés au Canada2; la majorité de ces femmes étant en âge de procréer (15 à 39 ans), il y a lieu de craindre une transmission périnatale du VIH au pays2. Depuis la mise au point de mesures de réduction efficaces du taux de transmission verticale, le dépistage prénatal du VIH est devenu la première étape, et la plus critique, dans la prévention de la transmission du virus de la mère à l’enfant35. Nous avons voulu analyser l’influence des connaissances et des attitudes des femmes à l’égard du VIH et du dépistage du VIH pendant la grossesse sur les taux de dépistage.

Méthode

Nous avons mené une enquête prospective anonyme auprès de 231 femmes fréquentant des cliniques de soins prénataux dans un hôpital d’enseignement universitaire ou une clinique communautaire.

Résultats

Dans l’ensemble, les femmes enceintes étaient en faveur du dépistage universel du VIH pendant la grossesse. Les femmes qui avaient déjà subi un test de dépistage du VIH et qui jugeaient ne pas être à risque de contracter le virus avaient plus tendance à refuser le test de dépistage pendant leur grossesse actuelle. Les connaissances générales du VIH et de sa transmission étaient sous-optimales, particulièrement chez les femmes qui avaient refusé le test de dépistage.

Conclusion

Les femmes qui refusent le test de dépistage prénatal du VIH n’ont pas le même niveau de connaissances que celles qui l’acceptent, surtout en ce qui a trait aux avantages du dépistage. C’est signe qu’il faut poursuivre les efforts d’information du public, mais aussi les mesures visant à changer les attitudes actuelles.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Veronique Dorval
    • 1
  • Kerri Ritchie
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andree Gruslin
    • 3
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Faculty of ArtsUniversity of Ottawa, The Ottawa HospitalCanada
  3. 3.Ottawa Health Research InstituteThe Ottawa HospitalCanada

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