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NZMA supports HIV testing

Tuesday, 14 June 2005

NZMA supports HIV testing

The New Zealand Medical Association fully supports the proposal to offer HIV testing to all pregnant women.

“Pregnant women are already offered blood tests for a range of conditions, such as hepatitis and syphilis, and HIV should be added to this,” said NZMA maternity spokesman Dr Don Simmers. “Antenatal HIV testing is routine in other developed countries, such as Australia and Britain.

“Testing and treating for HIV will save the lives of a few babies in New Zealand each year.”

Midwives have been quoted as saying they do not have the skills or the resources to conduct HIV tests.

“General Practitioners are more than comfortable with HIV testing,” Dr Simmers said. “This is something they do routinely and they are well trained. “

Dr Simmers said the suggestion that pregnant women also be tested for chlamydia was a sensible one, in the face of an epidemic of chlamydia amongst young women. As well as helping the mother, testing and treatment would prevent babies becoming infected as they are born.

ENDS

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