Rapid HIV Testing

In spite of impressive gains in reducing perinatal HIV transmission in the United States, new infections persist. In late 2002, the FDA approved the rapid HIV test allowing for preliminary diagnosis and treatment of HIV in labor.

If you are caring for a pregnant woman with a positive rapid HIV test who is in labor or an HIV-exposed infant, see the 24/7 Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline's step-by-step recommendations.

Public Law 95-702 serves as the legal basis for rapid HIV testing in Illinois. Originally passed in August 2003 as Public Act 93-566, called the Perinatal HIV Prevention Act, it was amended in 2006 and again in 2007. Rules for this Act were promulgated, effective December 18, 2012, and can be found in the Perinatal HIV Prevention Code. The law mandates the following:

  • Standardized and mandated counseling of all pregnant women.

  • HIV test results be documented in prenatal, labor and delivery, and newborn pediatric charts.

  • Rapid tests be offered on labor and delivery to women without a documented HIV status.

  • Mandatory testing of newborns when the mother’s status is unknown at birth (June 2006 amendment).

  • All preliminary positive rapid HIV tests on mothers and infants be reported within 24 hours of birth to the 24/7 Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline at 1-800-439-4079 to ensure medical consultation and linkage to case management (June 2006 amendment).

The Perinatal Rapid Testing Implementation Initiative (PRTII), funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health between 2004-2011, was established to assist hospitals in implementing rapid HIV testing in labor and delivery units throughout Illinois. By late 2005, all labor and delivery units in the state were conducting rapid HIV testing. Since 2011, the state health department has provided limited rapid testing and reporting support through the Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative.