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Testing the Fathers: Carrying Out HIV and STI Tests on Partners of Pregnant Women

May 1, 2012

In the current study, the authors present results from a pilot initiative to offer sexual health and HIV screening to the male partners of women undergoing antenatal ultrasound examination at Homerton Hospital in London. The team noted that while opt-out antenatal testing for HIV has "significantly reduced" mother-to-child transmission of the virus, the risk remains for seroconversion during pregnancy from undiagnosed HIV-positive partners.

Between Aug. 1, 2010, and Jan. 31, 2011, men whose female partners presented for routine ultrasound examination were offered onsite serology for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, as well as urine testing for Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis. The genitourinary medicine service provided follow-up results, and referral pathways were established for men whose results were positive.

A total of 1,243 male partners of 2,400 women attended the ultrasound exams. Of these, 430 men accepted testing, for an acceptance rate of 35 percent and a coverage rate of 18 percent. The men's median age was 32 (range 19-52); 112 (26 percent) were of black ethnicity. A previous HIV test was reported by 41 percent. No difference in prior HIV testing was noted between whites and non-whites. No HIV diagnoses were made, but the testing diagnosed 16 others cases of infection: hepatitis C (two), hepatitis B (eight) and C. trachomatis (six).

"The authors have shown that it is acceptable and feasible to engage heterosexual men for testing in this setting," the study concluded. "Of those men who accepted HIV testing, more than half had never been previously tested. Four percent of men tested had an infection, which had the potential to affect the outcome of the pregnancy."

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Excerpted from:
Sexually Transmitted Infections
04.2012; Vol. 88; No. 3: P. 184-186; R. Dhairyawan; S. Creighton; L. Sivyour; J. Anderson




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