Safety Net

The Mother and Child Alliance (MACA) exists to augment and secure the ‘safety net’ of perinatal disease prevention.

Perinatal is what happens during and soon after pregnancy. Prevention aims to reduce the burden of disease on moms and babies during this crucial time.

The Safety Net of Perinatal Prevention for HIV evolved over the last two decades to include the cornerstones of a 24/7 provider hotline, enhanced case management and rapid testing at labor & delivery. Those and our other programs have played a significant role in preventing HIV transmission in Illinois.

MACA is expanding these systems to include other potentially serious but preventable infections such as congenital syphilis and perinatal hepatitis B.

The below elements of the ‘Safety Net’ serve women and families in Illinois. Some of these approaches have also been adopted by other programs in San Francisco and Philadelphia, the states of Texas and Louisiana and the countries of Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The CDC has praised our program and helped spread our methods.

Perinatal HIV Prevention Act

Illinois law initially passed in 2003; last updated in 2017. Mandates include:

  • HIV counseling of ALL pregnant women in EVERY pregnancy
  • Offer of an HIV test as early as possible in pregnancy and again after 27 weeks
  • Maternal HIV test results documented in both mother and newborn charts
  • Rapid HIV test offered on Labor & Delivery for all women with undocumented HIV status
  • Testing of newborns for maternal exposure if mom’s status unknown
  • Hospitals must report preliminary positives within 24 hours to the state hotline
  • Hospitals must report delivery and perinatal exposure statistics every month

24/7 Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline

An always-on clinical resource and reporting system for health care providers

  • Real-time, best practice medical consults
  • Referral links to care, case management and support services across the state
  • Official reporting mechanism for positive rapid HIV tests on Labor and Delivery

Statewide Rapid HIV Testing on Labor & Delivery

  • Rapid HIV testing coordinated through regional perinatal networks
  • Positive rapid tests reported to hotline for immediate assistance and links to care
  • Monthly reporting on all rapid HIV tests performed at triage or on Labor & Delivery
  • Follow-up on any mother/baby pairs discharged without a documented maternal HIV status

Enhanced Perinatal HIV Case Management 

Links women to specialty HIV/OB care and social services as needed, including crisis and emergency needs. 

On call with 24/7 Perinatal HIV Hotline for cases in Chicagoland including Cook, DuPage, Lake and collar counties. Rest of state connected through partnerships with local Ryan White Case Managers.

Additional Aspects of the Safety Net


For more on how we are managing COVID-19 impacts or to help our mission, please visit our COVID-19 Response page.