California Assembly Member Introduces Bill to Make HIV Testing Part of Routine Blood Tests for Pregnant Women
California Assembly member Rod Wright (D) has introduced a bill (AB 2930) that would require doctors to test all pregnant women for HIV before or at the time of delivery. Under current law, doctors are required to perform a blood test before or at the time of delivery for hepatitis B surface antigens and rhesus (Rh) blood type. Prenatal care providers are also currently required to offer HIV testing, information, counseling and referral services to all clients. Wright's bill would drop the voluntary testing requirement and add HIV testing to the list of tests routinely performed on pregnant women. However, women would be able to refuse HIV testing after receiving information on the test and existing treatments from the attending physician or if they have already tested positive for the virus (AB 2930 text, 3/13). Los Angeles County health officials last month issued a public alert "urging" pregnant women to be tested and treated for HIV infection to prevent vertical transmission of the virus after seven new HIV cases among infants were reported in the county in January. Some of the mothers of the seven HIV-positive children had received no prenatal care, some had turned down HIV tests offered during prenatal visits and others said they had tested negative for HIV (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.