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Some Ob-Gyns Unaware Of Requirements For Recommending HIV Tests

Armen Hareyan's picture

Although almost all ob-gyns recommend HIV testing to all their pregnantpatients, some are unclear about state requirements for recommendingtests, according to a survey published in the November edition of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Reuters reports. The survey also found that 48% ob-gyns use CDC's recommended opt-out strategy for HIV testing.

Inthe opt-out approach, which also is recommended by several otherorganizations, pregnant women are given information about HIV and aretold that a test will be performed as part of routine medical testing.The women also are informed that they can decline testing. A secondstrategy, called opt-in HIV testing, requires that women request thetest after being given information about the virus. Women often arerequired to sign an informed consent form in opt-in approaches.

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The survey, conducted by Jay Schulkin and colleagues from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,found that 52% of the 582 ob-gyns who returned questionnaires said theyused the opt-in HIV testing. All but 3% of the respondents reportedrecommending HIV testing to all of their pregnant patients, even thoughnearly 75% of ob-gyns considered 5% or fewer of their patients to be athigh risk for HIV infection, the survey found.

Fifty-sevenpercent reported following their state's mandated HIV testing approach,while 43% reported using an approach not consistent with their state'sregulation. Nearly one-third of ob-gyns said they did not know if theirstate required HIV testing during pregnancy. Nearly 74% reported thatthey provide pretest counseling before HIV testing and about 85% saidthey provide post-test counseling, the survey found.

"Theresults of this study suggest that obstetrician-gynecologists maybenefit from additional information that could improve their knowledgeand practice regarding HIV screening," the investigators wrote.Researchers distributed 1,032 questionnaires for the survey (Reuters, 11/16).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report ispublished for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser FamilyFoundation.