Hospitals Show Wide Variation in Screening of Pregnant Women for STDs, HIV
Maine's birthing hospitals do a "poor job" of screening pregnant women for HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea, according to a review done by the state Bureau of Health, the Associated Press reports. A random review of 1,780 pregnant women's charts at hospitals of varying sizes across the state showed that the average statewide screening rate was 26% for HIV/AIDS, 71% for chlamydia and 70% for gonorrhea. According to the Associated Press, the CDC recommends screening all pregnant women for the three diseases. The review found that the screening rates were inconsistent -- ranging from 2% to 72% for HIV/AIDS and zero to 98% for chlamydia. "Zero percent is pretty concerning. That obviously means it's not on somebody's radar screen at some hospitals," Nate Nickerson, director of the Public Health Division at the Portland Department of Health, said. Although Nickerson said that there could be "a significant number" of pregnant women who decline testing or "were not considered good candidates" for screening, the inconsistent rates "still hint at problematic screening policies." The Associated Press reports that the department will conduct another review in the fall to determine if there has been any "significant improvement" in STD screening among pregnant women (Associated Press, 8/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.