Preventing Perinatal HIV Transmission Newsletter: Field Update Banner Logo


Welcome to the second issue of Preventing Perinatal HIV Transmission: Field Update. You are receiving this newsletter because you expressed an interest in perinatal HIV prevention in hospitals. This free, quarterly email newsletter connects its subscribers to news updates, trends, statistics, prevention programs, policy initiatives, tools, and useful practices relating to perinatal HIV prevention in US hospitals.  The dramatic reduction of perinatal HIV transmission in the US stands as one of the great public health successes in US history.  But in spite of this success, there are still women – and babies – who slip through the cracks.  Our nation’s hospitals stand in a unique position to implement practices and policies that can make a real difference in the lives of these women and babies.  The Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET), with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), launched this newsletter as a forum for information dissemination and for communication among and between hospital staff, HIV experts, and researchers.  


For more information on HRET’s Perinatal HIV Prevention project, please visit their website.


If you have comments or suggestions for future issues of this newsletter, please contact Jennifer Reiter at 



HRET Develops Summary Chart of FDA-Approved Rapid HIV Antibody Screening Tests

Many hospitals are currently considering how best to meet the CDC recommendation for hospitals to offer routine rapid HIV testing to all women presenting to labor and delivery with undocumented HIV status.  HRET, with input from the CDC, has developed a chart to present hospitals with the information they need to decide which rapid HIV test to use in their practices.  The chart summarizes and compares the rapid HIV tests currently FDA-approved and available for commercial distribution, including the newly approved MultiSpot HIV-1/HIV-2 Rapid Test.  To access this comparison chart, please click here.



FDA Approves New Rapid Test for HIV-1 and HIV-2

In November 2004, the FDA announced its approval of Biorad’s MultiSpot HIV-1/HIV-2 Rapid Test.  This device detects and differentiates antibodies associated with HIV-1 and HIV-2 in human plasma and serum.  To read the FDA approval letter, please click here.  For more information on the MultiSpot test, please see the package insert here.



New Hotline for Clinicians Treating HIV+ Pregnant Women

Clinicians across the nation now have 24-hour access to a perinatal HIV consultation service, thanks to the new Perinatal Hotline funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).  By calling 888-448-8765 at any time, clinicians will reach experts who can answer urgent questions about HIV testing and treating HIV-infected pregnant women and their children.  Additionally, these experts can also assist clinicians in linking HIV-infected women and HIV-exposed infants to the most appropriate care.  This hotline is an expansion of HRSA’s National HIV/AIDS Clinicians’ Consultation Center (NCCC) at San Francisco General Hospital. 


Please click here to learn more about the new perinatal hotline.



CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention Focuses on Perinatal HIV Prevention and Rapid HIV Testing

CDC’s HIV prevention initiative, Advancing HIV Prevention: New Strategies for a Changing Epidemic (AHP), broadly focuses on (1) reducing barriers to early diagnosis of HIV infection and (2) increasing access to quality medical care, treatment, and ongoing prevention services for those diagnosed with HIV. Hospitals play critical roles in achieving both of these goals, in relation to general HIV prevention and treatment as well as perinatal HIV prevention specifically.  The AHP website includes descriptions of the initiative and how it is to be implemented, as well as other guidance and information critical to its success. 


Click here to access the Advancing HIV Prevention web page, which currently features spotlights on rapid HIV testing and perinatal HIV prevention. 



Laboratorians Express Support of Rapid HIV Testing for Perinatal HIV Prevention in Upcoming Newsletter

Look out for the upcoming newsletter of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) for a contribution by Leonard Boral, MD, and Mardge Cohen, MD, promoting the use of point-of-care rapid testing for HIV in labor and delivery for women with undocumented HIV status.  Dr. Boral and Dr. Cohen both serve on HRET’s Perinatal HIV Prevention National Advisory Committee.



ACOG Announces and Distributes New Perinatal HIV Materials

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has developed and recently distributed its "New Perinatal HIV Guidelines," a packet of materials to assist obstetric providers in incorporating or increasing HIV testing and treatment for all pregnant patients. The packet contains a newly revised tear-off notepad HIV and Other Important Pregnancy Tests and a laminated information card Physician Information on HIV Testing that includes a suggested script for providers to use to notify patients about prenatal HIV testing. In addition to other professional guidance and patient educational materials on perinatal HIV, the packet also contains a new Committee Opinion Prenatal and Perinatal HIV Testing: Expanded Recommendations that includes ACOG's recommendations for repeat testing in third trimester and rapid HIV testing at labor and delivery. ACOG is collaborating with the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center (FXB), CDC and the Agency for Educational Development (AED) by providing these new materials for use at their 2005 regional training workshops on rapid HIV testing at labor and delivery.  For additional information you may visit the ACOG website.



HRET Hospital Perinatal HIV Testing Survey

Thanks again to the many hospitals that responded to the HRET Hospital Perinatal HIV Survey last summer.  We are currently analyzing the rich data from the survey responses.  One interesting preliminary result: When asked about barriers to universal HIV testing of women in both prenatal care and in labor and delivery, more than two-thirds of respondents found privacy, state and local laws, and state and local regulations to be important.  Fewer respondents identified staff and clinician attitudes or concerns relating to follow-up care to be important obstacles.  HRET and our other CDC-funded partners will be developing tools to help hospitals implement rapid testing in L&D using these and other survey results.