Mandatory Prenatal HIV Testing Essay

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Mandatory Prenatal HIV Testing

This particular journal researches prenatal HIV testing as it relates
to vertical transmission.
Randomized controlled studies involving HIV- positive pregnant women at various stages of pregnancy were monitored and evaluated in an effort to find conclusive reasoning for prenatal testing. Women of different income levels, educational and ethnic backgrounds were involved in these studies.
The AIDS Clinical Trials Group Study 076 as well as following
randomized controlled trials were used in order to test whether prenatal testing was an effective means of preventing the vertical transmission of the HIV virus. Quick and relatively simple tests were performed in order to first determine whether pregnant mothers were HIV- positive. If the mother then tested seropositive, antiretroviral therapy was begun in an effort to reduce the perinatal transmission of the virus. Randomized trials performed in developing countries also tested whether early detection followed by antiretroviral therapy greatly reduced viral transmission.
The ACTG 076 showed that in cases involving prenatal HIV testing,
where the virus was discovered in the earlier stages of pregnancy, that treatment could lower the chance of transmission from 25 % to 8 %. Furthermore, since these findings were released along with the recommendation that prenatal testing be mandatory for all pregnant women the cases of perinatally transmitted AIDS reported in the United States have been cut in half.

AIDS Clinical Trials Group Study 076 produced evidence that
mandatory prenatal testing would be effective, but it is plausible that the study itself could have been more effective.
The studies performed were statistically sound and le...

... middle of paper ...

...n. Prenatal testing offers a better opportunity to prevent the spread of HIV infection from mother to child than screening performed after the baby is born. This is because babies born to HIV- positive mothers who are treated prenatally and during delivery have an estimated 8 % chance of contracting the virus. A baby treated after delivery may benefit from the drug, but will likely remain infected.
Although the positives of mandatory testing appear quite evident in this journal, the benefits of mandatory HIV testing must be substantial and must be continually demonstrated before such a policy is implemented. The consequences must be considered and studied at great length in order to determine whether what I see as a good idea really is. After all, we are making a decision on behalf of an unborn child, a decision that could profoundly affect their entire life.

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