Canadian Health Officials Recommend Routine HIV Testing for Pregnant Women
Canadian health officials are encouraging doctors to begin offering routine HIV testing to all their pregnant patients, the Toronto Globe and Mail reports. The recommendation is part of a series of guidelines released this month by an intergovernmental advisory committee on HIV/AIDS. The guidelines state that all pregnant women should be offered HIV tests as a part of prenatal care because of the difficulty doctors have in assessing their patients' risk of exposure. "Anecdotal and qualitative evidence suggests that women may be discouraged by their physician from testing for HIV because of a perceived absence of risk factors," but some pregnant women are "exposed to risk factors that health care providers may not be aware of," the report states. Previous studies have found that many women are not aware of their own risk level for HIV (Laghi, Toronto Globe and Mail, 7/15). Nina Arron, a federal official on the committee that drafted the recommendations, also noted that Canada's provinces and territories have different policies for offering HIV tests to pregnant women. She said that doctors should begin speaking to pregnant patients about the availability of routine tests (Canadian Press, 7/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.