Changes underway for antenatal HIV screening

The programme identifies pregnant women with HIV.
The programme identifies pregnant women with HIV.
Funding and reporting arrangements for antenatal HIV screening have changed. Because HIV screening is now an integral part of antenatal care, the National Screening Unit (NSU) will no longer produce comprehensive monitoring reports and district health boards (DHBs) will no longer receive funding for an HIV coordinator.

Antenatal HIV screening, along with five other blood tests, will continue to be offered to all pregnant women as a routine part of their antenatal care. Antenatal HIV screening was introduced in 2008 after a child acquired HIV through perinatal transmission and the mother had not been offered testing.

The aim of the antenatal HIV screening programme is to identify pregnant women with HIV so they can be given treatment which will reduce the likelihood of HIV being transmitted to their baby before it is born or during labour and birth. Diagnosis and appropriate treatment of women with HIV in pregnancy reduces the chance of perinatal transmission of the virus from 31.5 percent to less than 1 percent.

If testing shows a reactive or positive result, the screening laboratory will provide practitioners with guidance on the next steps.

The NSU practitioner procedures and guidelines can also assist, along with DHB infectious disease teams. The NSU will continue to make consumer resources available.  

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Page last updated: 30 June 2015