Georgia House Approves Bill That Would Require Doctors To Offer Pregnant Women HIV Tests
The Georgia House on Monday voted 140-14 to approve a bill (HB 429) that would require doctors in the state to offer pregnant women HIV tests, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Redmon, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3/19). 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. 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 -- have voiced their support for the bill (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/26). The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.