Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Netherlands’ Health Ministry To Offer Opt-Out HIV, STD Screening to Pregnant Women
The Netherlands Ministry of Health on Friday announced that beginning in 2004 all pregnant women in the country will be offered standard screening for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, Reuters Health reports. The tests will be offered to women around their 12th week of pregnancy and will include screening for HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis. The College of Healthcare Assurance had suggested two possible testing plans -- a rapid 30-minute HIV test including standard informed consent procedures, or a group of laboratory screening tests for STDs and HIV, with the option of follow-up blood tests, from which women could opt-out. Ministry spokesperson Bas Kuik said, "The State Secretary chose the second option because the first was a 30-minute test and that was seen as not 100% accurate -- so if HIV is concluded, we want there to be no doubt for the women." Secretary Clemence Ross-van Dorp said, "In this manner then each pregnant woman can make the most well-considered choice over the outcome of a test" (Conaway, Reuters Health, 4/11).
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