This Wednesday, acting Governor Richard Codey signed a new law requiring AIDs tests be administered to both expectant mother and baby, as part of their routine prenatal care. From The Star Ledger:
The mandatory tests are urgent in light of statistics in New Jersey, said Robert Johnson, interim dean of the New Jersey Medical School.
One in 313 women age 13 or older is living with HIV/AIDS in the state, according to New Jersey Department of Health statistics quoted by Johnson.
Medicaid or the insurance carrier will be footing the bill for the screenings; according to the law however, a woman can opt out of the test, but only if she clears it with her doctor. Nevertheless, the infant must still be screened.
AIDS and HIV advocates expressed mixed feelings about mandatory screening, voicing concern for infants but noting that discrimination against AIDS carriers is still a reality. Mothers could be hurt by a positive test, they reasoned, if word got out.