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Life Insurance - haven't seen this one
Feb 18, 2009

Dr. B,

Your public service on this site is, as always, much appreciated.

A quick question. My wife was raped by a co-worker about 15 years ago. As we were going through all the emotional baggage, we also had her tested for HIV. It was negative, but no where near the necessary three months from exposure.

Fast forward, she has given birth 3 times at major university hospitals in California and Illinois. I think she was tested then, but don't remember specifically. Is it SOP to test the mother for HIV? I assume they would have told us if she was +, correct?

Most recently, about 18 mos ago, we got life insurance for her. When the approval came back, it showed they had conducted an HIV test the result was negative. I assume the major insurance companies use reliable tests (Elisa, WB) for this stuff and we can consider this "definitive and conclusive," correct?

Thanks, Family Man in CA

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hey Family Man in CA,

I hope that coworker is now behind bars.

Regarding your specific questions, yes, it is standard of care to test pregnant women for HIV. And yes, if your wife was HIV positive, they would have told you, as well as treated her with antiretrovirals so she would have a decreased risk of maternal-to-child transmission during delivery.

As for the HIV tests performed by insurance companies, yes, they are reliable. An insurance company certainly would not want to miss a case of HIV, as you would then be a very bad insurance risk.

Your wife is definitively HIV negative.

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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