Canadian Medical Association Endorses Universal HIV Testing of Pregnant Women
The Canadian Medical Association on Tuesday endorsed a resolution calling for universal HIV testing of pregnant women, the Canadian Press reports. The resolution, which was endorsed by 97% of voting members attending the group's annual meeting, asks the national and provincial governments to test all pregnant women for the virus but includes a provision that would allow women to opt out of the testing. Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Vistor Dirnfield, an internist who has been advocating universal testing for 20 years, called on members to endorse testing as a way to lower the incidence of infants born with HIV in Canada. Currently there are no national or provincial testing standards, leaving testing to the discretion of individual doctors, which results in "too few" HIV tests being performed on pregnant women, Dirnfield said. Routine testing of all pregnant women would allow prophylactic treatment to be administered prior to and after birth and would allow physicians and women to chose the option of delivering by caesarean section instead of vaginally to further reduce the odds of transmitting the virus to infants. The CMA resolution will be sent to local, provincial and national health authorities (Morris, Canadian Press, 8/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.