New Jersey would become the first state in the United Stats to require both pregnant women and newborns to be tested for HIV, media reported Monday.
The bill, described as a “no brainer,” is under a proposal introduced by Senate president Richard J. Codey. It would require all pregnant women be tested for HIV twice, once early in the pregnancy and a second time in the third trimester. Every birthing facility in the state would have to test all newborns in their care.
“The key in the fight against HIV and AIDS is early detection and treatment,” Codey said, “For newborns this can be a lifesaving measure.”
According to Codey, the bill stems from a report of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found medical treatment during pregnancy can dramatically cut mother-to-child HIV transmission.
Under the proposal, the test would be given unless the mother chooses, in writing, not to have it.
Codey’s bill will be scheduled for hearings in the coming weeks. To become law, it must be approved by both the state Senate and Assembly, and then signed by the governor.
There are by now, only four states — Arkansas, Michigan, Tennessee and Texas — require health care providers to test a mother for HIV, unless the mother specifically asks not to be tested.
Connecticut and New York are the only states that test all newborns for HIV.
New Jersey has some of the highest rates in the nation for AIDS cases, women with AIDS and pediatric HIV and AIDS cases.
I guess this may be beneficial to give health officials a better idea of how many children in the state have HIV. They currently would have no idea unless they were specifically tested.