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AMA Withdraws Support for Mandatory HIV Testing for Pregnant Women

The American Medical Association (AMA) this month voted to retract its support for mandatory HIV testing of pregnant women. The vote came after concerns that women, fearing the mandatory testing, were opting not to see their doctors for pre-natal care visits. Women were also not being offered counseling services as part of the HIV screening, raising mental health concerns. For low-income HIV-positive women, mandatory testing jeopardized their receipt of healthcare services altogether, as they were at increased risk of losing health insurance coverage. The AMA will now endorse “universal testing” of pregnant women for HIV. Under this policy, the AMA, while not advocating a requirement for testing, “fully supports routine HIV testing for all pregnant women,” according to AMA trustee Dr. Ronald Davis. Currently, Connecticut and New York are the only states to require mandatory HIV testing of pregnant women.

Sources:

Reuters Health, 12/5/01; Feminist Majority Foundation