US Preventative Services Task Force recommends screening all pregnant women for HIV

Polly Clayden, HIV i-Base

The US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) – an independent US body that reviews evidence and makes public health recommendations – found that both standard and FDA-approved rapid screening tests accurately diagnose HIV infection in pregnant women. They also found good evidence that introduction of universal prenatal voluntary counseling and testing increases the number of HIV-positive women who are diagnosed and are treated before delivery.

Additionally they found evidence that HAART is acceptable to pregnant women and leads to significantly reduced rates of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). And that early detection of a mother’s HIV allows for discussion of strategies to prevent MTCT.

Furthermore they found no evidence of an increase in foetal anomalies or other foetal harm associated with currently recommended antiretroviral regimens (with the exception of efavirenz). Serious or fatal maternal events are rare using currently recommended combination therapies.

They concluded that the benefits of screening all pregnant women substantially outweigh potential harms.

Supporting documents can be found at:

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.