Percentage and determinants of missed HIV testing in pregnancy: A survey of women delivering in the Lazio region, Italy

Sabrina Valle, Patrizio Pezzotti, Marco Floridia, Maria Grazia Pellegrini, Stefania Bernardi, Vincenzo Puro, Enrica Tamburrini, Iolanda Rinaldi, Giorgio Vittori, Fabrizio Perrelli, Alessandra Morelli, Enrico Girardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


HIV testing is recommended as part of routine preconception and prenatal care but some cases of vertical transmission still occur because of missed HIV testing in pregnancy. We estimated the percentage of women missing HIV testing before delivery, and we evaluated factors related with it. An anonymous survey was distributed to women giving birth during a two-week period in the maternity units of hospitals in the Lazio region of Italy in 2011. Among the 1568 women who filled out the questionnaire, only 33.6% had an HIV test prior to conception, while 88.2% were tested during pregnancy; main reasons reported for missed testing were: not requested by the gynaecologist (57.0%), performed previously (20.7%), requested by the gynaecologist but not done (13.3%) and structural/organisational barriers (4.4%). The percentage of women who missed the HIV test as part of preconception care or during pregnancy was 9.1% (95% confidence interval, CI: 7.7-10.6). Multivariate analysis showed that those with missed test were younger (p = 0.05), of lower education level (p <0.01), with a lower HIV-knowledge score (p <0.01) and with fewer visits during pregnancy (p <0.01). Around 10% of delivering women were not tested for HIV during pregnancy or as part of preconception care. Absence of a specific request by the gynaecologist was the most frequent reason given. The association of missed HIV testing with poor sociocultural level and limited maternal HIV knowledge emphasise the importance of promoting HIV information among women and prenatal care providers. Strategies to increase routine testing may include the adoption of an opt-out approach. Finally, availability of rapid HIV testing in the delivery room should be encouraged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-906
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 3 2014


  • Antenatal care
  • Delivery
  • HIV testing
  • Italy
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology


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