Human Immunodeficiency Virus
HumanImmunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is one of the major causes of illnessand death worldwide including people of different age groups. HIVinfection among children is transmitted majorly through perinataltransmission from the mother who is infected to her fetus. Therefore,to minimize perinatal transmission, the international organizationshave made it mandatory for pregnant mothers to be tested for HIV(Hardon,2015).
Thispaper seeks to discuss the issue of HIV mandatory testing forpregnant women as a global health problem.
Backgroundand a Description of the “pro” Position
Almostall pediatric AIDS cases are contributed to by perinatal HIVtransmission that leads to illness and death of children worldwide.Perinatal HIV transmission is the most common mode of transmission ofHIV infections to children. The increased rate of pediatric AIDSthrough perinatal HIV transmission was promoted by the lack ofawareness by mothers about their HIV status. Mothers who are unawareof their HIV status poses high risks to their babies to HIV infectionthat can be transmitted during pregnancy, labor, delivery or evenduring postpartum care. Therefore, HIV mandatory testing for pregnantwomen was determined as an appropriate solution for addressingperinatal HIV transmission problem (Kedote,Jerome, Brousselle & Champagne, 2016).
The“pro” of this position is that it necessitate all pregnant womento be tested and determine their HIV status in order to alloweffective measures to be initiated such as providing properantiretroviral medications during pregnancy, labor, delivery andafter giving birth, to prevent perinatal HIV transmission. Thisposition helps to save lives of both mothers and children. Itcontributes significantly towards minimizing the cases ofperinatally-acquired AIDs (Kedote,Jerome, Brousselle & Champagne, 2016).
Backgroundand a Description of the "con" Position
HIVmandatory testing of pregnant mothers can be disastrous regarding itsaccuracy and effectiveness. Pregnancy is one of the factors thataffect the accuracy of an HIV test. It is crucial that women andphysicians have knowledge of the possibility of pregnancy misleadingthe test results. Also, the effectiveness of HIV mandatory testingin pregnant women is seen where the testing itself has lowpossibility of minimizing the spread of perinatal HIV transmission.Some women van reject treatment after their HIV status comes outpositive (Hardon,2015).
The“con” of this position is that the possibility of errors such asfalse positives can have fatal consequences. False positives couldcontribute to making inappropriate decisions and pose significanthealth risks to both the mother and the fetus. False positive HIVresults tests could facilitate the provision of unnecessary treatmentthat can lead to health risks and the possibility of death. Treatinga baby whose status is HIV-negative, with ARVs medications can causethem to get sick or die and also affect the health of the mother.Also, "con" position on mandatory testing for pregnantwomen is that testing may not be an effective method of reducingperinatal transmission because of the different ways through whichwomen will respond to HIV testing. For instance, some believe theyare not at risk, some do not want to know their status or otherpeople, and some test because it is mandatory but do not know theimportance of testing and thus cannot provide the perinatal carerequired if the results are positive (Hardon,2015).
Acritical analysis including possible compromises, solutions to theissue
Thepossible solution to the issue of HIV mandatory for pregnant womentesting of accuracy and effectiveness is to ensure certainty.Mandatory testing for pregnant women requires certainty becauseaccurate tests will lead to appropriate decision making that wouldresult in proper interventions that will provide significant healthbenefits to both the mother and child. Therefore, it is important fordoctors to check the results double to ensure accuracy and avoidcases of false positives that have far consequences to the health andlife of mother and child. The effectiveness of mandatory HIV testingof pregnant mothers can be achieved by promoting awareness andeducating women on the importance and benefits of HIV testing duringpregnancy and inform them of how to provide prenatal care in cases ofHIV-positive results (Rimawi,Haddad, Badell & Chakraborty, 2016).
HIVmandatory testing of pregnant women has co tribute significantlytowards minimizing prenatal HIV transmission and thus saved manychildren from illness and death as a result of AIDS. However, despitethe benefits of mandatory testing of HIV among pregnant women, thereare significant disadvantages of this position in terms of accuracyand effectiveness of the HIV test results that can have adversehealth impacts on the child and the mother that could lead to death.
Hardon,A. (2015). 2 Testing Pregnant Women for HIV. DiagnosticControversy: Cultural Perspectives on Competing Knowledge inHealthcare, 25,27.
Kedote,M. N., Jerome, C. S., Brousselle, A., & Champagne, F. (2016).Evolution of the Quality of HIV Pre-test Counselling to PreventMother-to-Child Transmission of HIV from 2007 to 2016 in Cotonou(Benin). Qualityin Primary Care, 24(6),240-245.
Rimawi,B. H., Haddad, L., Badell, M. L., & Chakraborty, R. (2016).Management of HIV Infection during Pregnancy in the United States:Updated Evidence-Based Recommendations and Future PotentialPractices. InfectiousDiseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2016
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