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HIV Testing (cont.)

CDC Recommends HIV Testing for Pregnant Women

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women and newborns at high risk for HIV be tested.

  • Without medical treatment, a mother infected with HIV has about a 25% chance of having a baby born with HIV.
  • Medical treatment with antiretroviral medication during pregnancy and labor has been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of transmission of HIV.
  • The standard ELISA or Western blot antibody test may not be appropriate for a pregnant woman who has had recent exposure to HIV.
    • If she is trying to decide whether to continue or terminate her pregnancy, she cannot afford the three- to six-month waiting period the antibody test requires.
    • In such cases, the viral load test is usually ordered by a physician to help the woman make more informed decisions, including whether to start prenatal antiretroviral therapy to reduce mother-to-child HIV transmission.
  • For more information on HIV/AIDS and HIV testing, contact the Centers for Disease Control National AIDS Hotline at 800-342-AIDS (800-342-2437).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/23/2014
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