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Retesting during pregnancy: worth the worry?
Aug 10, 2001

Please let me take a second to explain my situation, which is not entirely unique, but one unique aspect is that the person I had sex with has tested positive THREE times since our relations. I was separated from my husband, my ex came to town and after his coaxing and reassuring that he gets tested every six months and hadn't had sex or used drugs in two years, we had unprotected sex. Six weeks later he learned of his status and told me. That day i had a test, negative. At fourteen weeks following exposure, negative. At twenty five weeks-negative. After this last test, my husband and I agreed that it was safe to conceive our second child. I am now 26 weeks pregnant. My doctor didn't offer me a test at the beginning of my pregnancy because I had just had the one at twenty five weeks. Now, I want another one but with all the stories of women testing false positive, I want to know if retesting is worth the worry providing that there have been no other risks. Should I just not have another test? I know some experts say it is "unlikely" that one would be infected with a 6 month negative, but many statistically "unlikely" medical things have happened to me in the past!!! I just want to be sure that I'm not going to give this disease to the baby I'm carying.

Response from Dr. Aberg

Yes, I believe you are worrying way too much but I want to answer your question because you bring up a point I think some individuals may miss including health care providers.

The standard practice is to offer a woman a HIV test at the time pregnancy is diagnosed. It would be fair to assume most women do not have their partner use a condom during pregnancy. But the fact remains that some partners will be having sex with other people and/or that the pregnant woman may have more than one partner. Therefore, I believe women should be offered a HIV test both at the time they find out they are pregnant and again during the last trimester. By doing an additional HIV test late in pregnancy, we may identify women who have become newly infected during pregnancy.


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