In late 2002, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the Rapid HIV Antibody Test, a screening test requiring only a small blood sample to detect antibodies to HIV, which can be collected and processed within a short interval of time (under 60 minutes). Rapid HIV tests allow for preliminary diagnosis and treatment of HIV in labor for women who have no documented HIV status at time of delivery.
It is important for a pregnant woman who does not know her status to accept a rapid HIV test because it is possible to pass HIV to the baby during pregnancy, during childbirth, or through breastfeeding.
Perinatal Rapid HIV Testing Law in Illinois
Illinois passed Public Act 93-566, the Perinatal HIV Prevention Act, in August 2003, most recently amended in 2007 as Public Law 95-702.
Under this law:
- All pregnant women in Illinois will be counseled and offered a rapid HIV test by their health provider
- The test is completely voluntary
Other requirements of the law include:
- Requires that HIV test results be documented in prenatal, labor and delivery, and newborn pediatric charts
- Requires that rapid tests be offered on labor and delivery to women without a documented HIV status
- Requires mandatory testing of newborns when the mother’s status is unknown at birth (June 2006 amendment)
- Mandates that all preliminary positive rapid HIV tests on mothers and infants be reported to the 24/7 Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline within 24 hours of birth to ensure medical consultation and linkage to case management (June 2006 amendment)
Rapid HIV Testing
Under the Illinois Perinatal HIV Prevention Act, every birthing and non-birthing hospital must submit a monthly perinatal rapid HIV testing report detailing deliveries, HIV-exposed births and rapid HIV testing of delivering women and infants born without a documented maternal HIV status. PACPI collects data and supports hospitals doing rapid testing on behalf of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
- PACPI collects the rapid HIV testing data from labor and delivery units in 125 Illinois hospitals each month.
- PACPI collects rapid HIV testing data from emergency departments in non-birthing hospitals across the state who may identify pregnant women and or newborns at delivery.
- PACPI provides reporting assistance and positive rapid test follow-up for each hospital.
- PACPI provides a quarterly and annual summary of the data for each hospital and regionalized perinatal network which is also shared with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
- PACPI shares aggregate reports of perinatal exposures and positive rapid tests for active surveillance with both IDPH and the Chicago Department of Public Health.
For more information about Rapid Testing in Illinois supported by the Perinatal HIV Hotline, please visit www.hivpregnancyhotline.org