Efforts To Implement Routine HIV Testing Among Pregnant Women, Infants in New Jersey Should Be Supported, Editorial Says
An effort by New Jersey Senate President Richard Codey (D) to require routine HIV testing among pregnant women and infants in the state "deserves support," a Newark Star-Ledger editorial says (Newark Star-Ledger, 3/26). Codey on Thursday announced plans to introduce a bill that would require all pregnant women and infants in the state to be tested for HIV unless women choose in writing to opt out of the test. Current state law requires health care providers to offer HIV tests to pregnant women. Codey's bill would require pregnant women to be tested for HIV as early as possible in their pregnancy and again during the third trimester. Under the bill, every birthing facility in the state also would be required to provide infants under their care with HIV tests. In addition, physicians and health care providers would be required to provide pregnant women with information about HIV/AIDS, the benefits of being tested, available medical treatment and how treatment can reduce the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/23). Providing HIV-positive women with access to HIV tests is "beneficial because it increases the chances that steps will be taken early on to prevent" mother-to-child transmission, the editorial says, adding that early detection would "improve the quality of life for HIV-positive" women and infants and "save lives." In addition, routine testing requirements are "extremely cost effective" because testing would be covered by Medicaid or insurance for most women, the editorial says, concluding that it would cost New Jersey about $260,000 to provide HIV tests to the 19,500 uninsured, pregnant women in the state (Newark Star-Ledger, 3/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.