Task force urges HIV testing of all pregnant women

The US Preventive Services Task Force has updated its 1996 guidelines for HIV screening, and now recommends that all pregnant women be tested.

That way, HIV-infected pregnant women can start HAART treatment and thereby reduce the risk of vertical transmission of infection to their infants. They can also be advised to avoid breast feeding, which is known to increase the risk for transmission.

According to its report in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the Task Force continues to recommend screening of adolescents and adults with one or more individual risk factors, including the following:

- Men who have had sex with men after 1975.

- Anyone having unprotected sex with multiple sex partners.

- Past or present injection drug users.

- Men and women who exchange sex for money or drugs or have sex partners who do.

- Individuals whose past or present sex partners were HIV infected, bisexual, or injection drug users.

- Persons being treated for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

- Persons with a history of blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985.

Currently, the Task Force does not recommend routinely screening adolescents or adults with no risk factors.

However, they do advise testing persons with no known risk factors but who are seen in high-risk or high-prevalence clinical settings, such as STD clinics, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, TB clinics and clinics with a high prevalence of STDs and those serving men who have sex with men.

SOURCE: Annals of Internal Medicine July 5, 2005.

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: June 14, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD