HIV can sometimes be complicated to treat. There are doctors who specialize in treating people with HIV. You can get a referral to an HIV specialist in your area by calling 1-800-439-4079.

For information about the Act, click here. For information on the Illinois AIDS Confidentiality Act and other legal topics, you can download a legal guide at www.legal council.org or contact the Legal Council for Health Justice at 312-427-8990.

A negative rapid HIV test is interpreted as negative. No confirmatory testing is required. If a person was recently exposed to the virus or has symptoms of acute HIV infection, additional testing may be recommended as the rapid test may not detect a recent infection.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has partnered with the Mother and Child Alliance and other organizations to develop a statewide safety net for perinatal HIV designed to identify and link to care pregnant people living with HIV who might otherwise fall through the cracks in the health care system. The key elements of the safety net include the 24/7 Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline, rapid HIV testing in labor and delivery units throughout the state, and enhanced perinatal HIV case management for patients and their infants who require additional support and services.

Consult your doctor about the safest method for you to conceive. This will likely include taking antiretroviral medicines and getting an undetectable viral load. There are various methods to help couples conceive that will take into account the HIV status of both partners to reduce the risk. While there is some risk of HIV infection or HIV-reinfection, there are ways to reduce or eliminate that risk to both parties.

When a patient has a positive rapid HIV test result, it is critical that a confirmatory test be sent immediately. A positive result should promptly trigger a call to the Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline as required by Illinois law. As a team, you and the hotline staff will determine the most appropriate clinical and social course to assure the risk of HIV transmission from the patient to their infant is optimally reduced.

The Hotline is staffed by medical and social service care providers from Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, and the Mother and Child Alliance's perinatal enhanced case management program.

If a person is negative and their partner is living with HIV, there is no risk of perinatal transmission to the baby. However, pregnant people are at an increased risk for contracting HIV, and a person who acquires HIV while pregnant has a greater chance of transmitting the virus to their baby. People without HIV who have sex partners living with HIV should seek counseling on the multiple measures that can be taken to prevent contracting HIV, including ensuring their partner treats their virus with pills, taking pills called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and consistently using condoms with each episode of intercourse. Because of the ongoing risk of HIV, all pregnant people in Illinois are required to be counseled and offered an HIV test both at the initial prenatal visit and again in the third trimester of pregnancy.


The 24/7 Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline (1-800-439-4079) can help you link your client with programs in your area. In Chicago, there are five specialty HIV/Obstetric programs that will handle both the HIV and obstetric aspects of pregnancy. In other metropolitan areas of the state there are similar programs.

During this time, it is important to note that a patient’s decision to accept an HIV test and the results of that test are to be kept confidential. Labor and delivery staff need to be vigilant of this at all times. The discussion of test results should occur in an environment where the patient feels comfortable and safe. The patient may not want to disclose information regarding their choice to be tested or the results of the test to their family members, partner, or friends. Ask the patient prior to obtaining the rapid HIV test who they want present when they receive the results. Only the individuals identified should be in the room when the results are relayed. If English is not the patient’s primary language, interpretation services should be utilized. Staff should not use family members or friends to discuss test results or provide information surrounding the results.