Perinatal Rapid HIV Testing

Rapid HIV Screening  — Labor and Delivery and Triage

One in four babies born to moms living with HIV can get the virus during pregnancy, childbirth, or through breastfeeding. That risk can be reduced to less than 1% if the mom is screened and treated optimally before delivery.

Many women do not know their HIV status before they get pregnant. An early screen is important because it gives care providers more time to provide optimal treatment. A third trimester screen is important because it is possible to contract HIV during pregnancy. 

Illinois Perinatal HIV Prevention Act

MACA leadership, volunteers, partners, and supportive legislators helped to develop an important part of the HIV prevention safety net in Illinois by passing a law to ensure good process around pregnancy to help prevent illness.

The cornerstone elements for prenatal screening include:

  • All pregnant women in Illinois must be counseled and offered an HIV screen by their health provider as early in pregnancy as possible
  • Women must be offered a repeat HIV screen after 27 weeks of pregnancy
  • The offer is mandatory, the test is voluntary

At labor and delivery, moms, babies and public health are protected by mandates including:

  • HIV test results must be documented in all patient charts – prenatal, labor and delivery, and newborn
  • Rapid tests must be offered on labor and delivery to women without a documented HIV status
  • Screening of newborns is required when the mother’s status is unknown at birth 
  • All preliminary positive rapid HIV tests on mothers and infants must be reported to the 24/7 Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline within 24 hours of birth to ensure medical consultation and linkage to case management

Surveillance is Key to Success

Every maternity hospital must submit a monthly perinatal rapid HIV screening report detailing deliveries, HIV-exposed births and rapid HIV testing of delivering women and infants born without a documented maternal HIV status. Monthly measurement ensures screening gets offered and implemented in compliance to the law and provides the benchmarks we need to show progress towards 100% prevention of HIV in newborns. 

MACA collects data and supports hospitals doing rapid screening on behalf of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

  • Rapid HIV screening data from labor and delivery units and emergency department in 100+ Illinois hospitals each month
  • Assistance and follow-up provided for each and every case at each and every hospital and birthing center
  • Aggregate quarterly and annual summaries for active surveillance for each hospital and network


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