Preventing Perinatal HIV Transmission Newsletter: Field Update Banner Logo


Welcome to the third issue of Preventing Perinatal HIV Transmission: Field Update. You are receiving this newsletter because you expressed an interest in perinatal HIV prevention in hospitals or have signed up to receive it. 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 web site.


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


HRET Develops Purchasing 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 comparing costs to give hospitals the information they need to investigate which rapid HIV test to use in their practices.  The chart compares the costs of 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.


The Latest From the HRET Hospital Perinatal HIV Testing Survey – Good News or Bad?

Last summer HRET surveyed hospitals about their policies and practices relating to prevention of perinatal HIV transmission. The good news: Slightly more than half of respondents are aware of rapid HIV tests that can be used at point-of-care.  The bad news: 44% are not. The promising news: The FDA is approving more rapid tests and newsletters such as this one are getting the word out.  In two years HRET will be repeating this survey, and we will be able to assess just how much things have changed.


2005 Perinatal Prevention and Surveillance Grantees' Meeting

The 2005 National Meeting of the Perinatal HIV Prevention and Surveillance Grantees will be held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Hotel in downtown Atlanta, immediately following the 2005 National HIV Prevention Conference.  The meeting is scheduled for June 15-16, 2005.  The theme of the meeting is “Focus on Data and Collaborations:  Strategies for Perinatal HIV Prevention.” This theme reinforces CDC’s continued goals of using surveillance data to identify future opportunities for prevention as well as for the evaluation of current programs, and to create collaborative partnerships to sustain and enhance future prevention efforts. In pursuit of these goals, attendees will come together to share local success stories, key data findings, unforeseen obstacles and other timely information.


Perinatal HIV Presentations at AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting

HRET’s HIV projects – Preventing Perinatal HIV Transmission and Making HIV Testing Routine -- submitted and will present two posters at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting, to take place in Boston from June 26-28.  If you are attending this meeting, plan on attending the following:

Preventing Perinatal HIV Transmission: Barriers to Universal Hospital Testing

Standard and Rapid HIV Testing Practices in Safety Net Hospitals


Article by Advisory Committee Members of HRET’s Perinatal HIV Prevention Project

In the March 2005 Issue of Pathology Today -- ASCP's bimonthly newsmagazine designed to address the unique and specific interests, concerns, and needs of pathologists -- Dr. Leonard Boral and Dr. Mardge Cohen published an article entitled “The Need for Rapid HIV Testing in the Perinatal Period.”  Please click here (March 2005 Pathology Today magazine) and scroll to page three for the full article.


New Article on Achieving Universal HIV Screening In Prenatal Care

Routine voluntary HIV testing with the right to decline (the "opt-out" approach) is recommended for all pregnant women in the United States, but not all are tested. This article examines data from surveys of prenatal care providers to identify factors associated with universal testing among patients. Data are from a probability survey conducted in 1999 with prenatal care providers in four separate areas. For the complete article, see:

Anderson JE, Koenig LE, Lampe MA, Wright R, Leiss J, Saul J.  Achieving universal HIV screening in prenatal care in the United States: Provider persistence pays off, AIDS Patient Care and STDs, 2005;19(4): 247-252. 


HIV Testing of Pregnant Women, Infants Should Be Routine, Opinion Piece Says

Mother-to-child HIV transmission "has been all but eliminated" in the United States, but health officials still can "save hundreds more lives" by making prenatal and perinatal HIV testing routine, Dennis Byrne, a Chicago-area writer, says in a Chicago Tribune opinion piece (Byrne, Chicago Tribune, 2/14).  Although the decline in vertical transmission has been a "spectacular medical victory," some critics of routine testing have called it an "unconstitutional violation of the woman's and the child's privacy," Byrne writes. However, "many more newborns could be saved from uncertainty, misery or even death if HIV testing were routine," Byrne concludes.


New Web Site for HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria Information

Updated daily with the latest information on HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, a new web site offers an easy and efficient way to stay on top of breaking news, current reports and data, and events from around the world.  The site is operated by the Kaiser Family Foundation with major support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help journalists efficiently search the latest and most accurate information on global health. Researchers, policymakers, and NGOs will also benefit from information on the free site, which includes daily news summaries; a calendar of upcoming events related to HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and health journalism; current regional and global health statistics; in-depth country spotlights; and reporting tools for journalists.


Recent NEJM Articles Advocate for Routine HIV Screening Practices
Bozzette SA.  Routine screening for HIV infection--timely and cost-effective, The New England Journal of Medicine, 2005; Feb 10; 352(6): 620-1.


Paltiel AD, Weinstein MC, Kimmel AD, Seage GR 3rd, Losina E, Zhang H, Freedberg KA, Walensky RP.  Expanded screening for HIV in the United States--an analysis of cost-effectiveness, The New England Journal of Medicine, 2005 Feb 10; 352(6): 586-95.


Sanders GD, Bayoumi AM, Sundaram V, Bilir SP, Neukermans CP, Rydzak CE, Douglass LR, Lazzeroni LC, Holodniy M, Owens DK.  Cost-effectiveness of screening for HIV in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy, The New England Journal of Medicine, 2005 Feb 10; 352(6): 570-85.