Disparities in Prenatal HIV Testing
In 2001, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) updated its 1995 guidelines for routine human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) counseling and voluntary testing of pregnant women. The new guidelines differ from earlier guidelines in that they emphasize HIV (treating HIV infection) testing as a routine part of prenatal care and strengthen the recommendation that all pregnant women in the United States be tested voluntarily for HIV, regardless of risk factors or prevalence rates in the community.
The purpose of the current study is twofold. First, we investigated whether the factors associated with prenatal HIV testing varied within and across race and ethnicity. Study results are inconsistent as to whether black and Hispanic women are more likely than white women to be tested prenatally for HIV (еreating HIV infection when used in combination with other medicines) Some researchers have found relationships, while others have not. Previous research, however, has not determined whether differences in the prevalence of HIV testing are explained by race alone, by nonracial factors or by interactions between race and other factors.
Second, we sought to establish a baseline measurement of the implementation of the 2001 PHS guidelines for prenatal HIV testing in Massachusetts. In 2001, Massachusetts reported perinatal HIV transmission rates of <2% among mothers known to be HIV-positive, but a 3.5% increase in the number of HIV positive women of childbearing age from 2,661 in 1999 to 2,755 in 2001, with no decline by 2003, making increasingly more important the identification of women not offered HIV (treating HIV infection) testing during pregnancy.