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HIV antenatal screening delay

Jackie Blue MP
National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

29 June 2008

HIV antenatal screening delay another broken promise

News that the full roll-out of the antenatal HIV screening programme will be delayed by up to a year is unacceptable, says National Party Associate Health spokeswoman Jackie Blue.

“Announced in June 2005, the roll-out to all DHBs was to be completed by June this year, but the fact is that only two DHBs, Waikato and Tairawhiti, are currently offering screening to pregnant women.

“Twelve other DHBs will hopefully be on board by the end of the year, with the final seven DHBs by June 2009.

“This is just another broken promise by Labour.”

Dr Blue says that since 2001, 12 children born in New Zealand have been diagnosed with HIV infection.

“With early detection of HIV in pregnancy, the chances of delivering an HIV negative baby, and ensuring the best health outcomes for both, are greatly improved.

“The Waikato DHB, the first to offer screening as part of a pilot study, has proved that this test has been welcomed by women. Any teething problems with the screening should be well and truly sorted out.

“Labour launched the HIV/AIDS ‘Action Plan’ in 2003 with antenatal HIV testing one of its goals. However, ‘inaction’ would seem to be a better description.”

ENDS


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