Prenatal HIV Testing and the Impact of State HIV Testing Laws, 2004 to 2011

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Abstract

Objective

This study aimed to analyze prenatal human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing rates over time and describe the impact of state HIV testing laws on prenatal testing.

Methods

During 2004–2011, self-reported prenatal HIV testing data for women with live births in 35 states and New York City were collected. Prevalence of testing was estimated overall and by state and year. An annual percent change was calculated in states with at least 6 years of data to analyze testing changes over time. An attorney-coder used WestlawNext to identify states with laws that direct prenatal care providers to screen all pregnant women or direct all women to be tested for HIV and document changes in laws to meet this threshold.

Results

The overall prenatal HIV testing rate for 2004 through 2011 combined was 75.7%. State-level data showed a wide range of testing rates (43.2%–92.8%) for 2004 through 2011 combined. In areas with 6 years of data, 4 experienced an annual drop in testing (Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, and Illinois). States that changed laws to meet the threshold generally had the highest testing rates, averaging 80%, followed by states with a preexisting law, at approximately 70%. States with no law, or no law meeting the threshold, had an average prenatal testing rate of 65%.

Conclusions

Prenatal HIV testing remained stable between 2004 and 2011 but remained below universal recommendations. Testing varied widely across states and was generally higher in areas that changed their laws to meet the threshold or had preexisting prenatal HIV testing laws, compared with those with no or limited prenatal HIV testing language.

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