The screening is done to prevent vertical transmission of the infection from an infected mother to the foetus. In 2020-21, the state reported 15.3 lakh HIV tests in pregnant women, up from 14.2 lakh in 2018-19 and 15.2 lakh in 2019-20.
“In 2020-21, we reported more HIV testing in pregnant women who come to hospitals for ante-natal care,” said Dr Ravi Prakash Sharma, director (AIDS).
Whenever a pregnant woman comes for the first antenatal check to any hospital, doctors encourage her to get HIV testing done, which is voluntary. “HIV testing is done to detect HIV in early stage. If a pregnant woman is HIV positive, chances are that the infection is transmitted to the foetus. If she tests positive for HIV, treatment is available which reduces the chances of vertical transmission of HIV from the infected mother to the newborn,” said a health department official.
The health department has provided access to HIV testing services to all pregnant women enrolled for antenatal care along with provision of ARV (Antiretroviral) prophylaxis with single dose of nevirapine at the time of delivery.
Officials said mother to child transmission of HIV is the primary route of transmission for HIV among children. Such transmission is known to occur during pregnancy, delivery and breast-feeding period with equal frequency. It is estimated that without any intervention the risk of transmission of HIV from infected mother to her child is between 20% to 45%.