Policy & Politics
Illinois: Governor Signs Bill Requiring HIV Tests for Newborns
June 26, 2006
On Friday, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed legislation requiring HIV testing for every newborn baby in Illinois when the status of the mother is not known. The law takes effect immediately.
In 2004, the state created a voluntary testing program, Perinatal Rapid Testing Implementation in Illinois (PRTII). According to officials, 98 percent of new mothers know their HIV status before they leave the hospital, up from 72 percent at the start of the program. The task force monitoring PRTII said just 1.9 percent of 13,205 babies born in Illinois last December went untested.
Opponents of the legislation argued that testing newborns could divulge women's HIV status against their will. But some doctors say that immediate drug treatment for an HIV-exposed newborn may prevent the infant from becoming infected.
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.