Georgia House Committee Approves Bill That Would Require Doctors To Offer Pregnant Women HIV Tests
The Georgia House Health and Human Services Committee recently voted unanimously to approve a bill (HB 429) that would require doctors in the state to offer pregnant women an HIV test, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R), also would require doctors to refer HIV-positive pregnant women to counseling and treatment services. Women would be able to opt out of the test, but their refusals would be included in their medical records, according to the Journal-Constitution. Almost one-quarter of pregnant women in Georgia are not tested for HIV because their physicians do not think they are at high risk of transmission, according to Cooper. She added that between 20 and 30 infants annually are born HIV-positive in the state, according to statistics from the Department of Human Resources Division of Public Health. Treatment costs about $600,000 per infant, according to the public health division. Several physician groups -- including the Georgia chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Georgia Obstetrical & Gynecological Society -- spoke in favor of the bill on Thursday. Some committee members on Thursday raised concerns about physician liability and patient confidentiality, according to the Journal-Constitution (Redmon, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.