Hiv testing of pregnant women: An ethical analysis

Developing World Bioethics 11 (3):109-119 (2011)
Recent global advances in available technology to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission necessitate a rethinking of contemporary and previous ethical debates on HIV testing as a means to preventing vertical transmission. In this paper, we will provide an ethical analysis of HIV-testing strategies of pregnant women. First, we argue that provider-initiated opt-out HIV testing seems to be the most effective HIV test strategy. The flip-side of an opt-out strategy is that it may end up as involuntary testing in a clinical setting. We analyse this ethical puzzle from a novel perspective, taking into account the moral importance of certain hypothetical preferences of the child, as well as the moral importance of certain actual preferences of the mother. Finally, we balance the conflicting concerns and try to arrive at an ethically sound solution to this dilemma. Our aim is to introduce a novel perspective from which to analyse testing strategies, and to explore the implications and possible benefits of our proposal. The conclusion from our analysis is that policies that recommend provider-initiated opt-out HIV testing of pregnant mothers, with a risk of becoming involuntary testing in a clinical setting, are acceptable. The rationale behind this is that the increased availability of very effective and inexpensive life-saving drugs makes the ethical problems raised by the possible intrusiveness of HIV testing less important than the child's hypothetical preferences to be born healthy. Health care providers, therefore, have a duty to offer both opt-out HIV testing and available PMTCT (preventing mother-to-child transmission) interventions
Keywords HIV/AIDS  ethics of care  developing world bioethics  antiretroviral therapy  mandatory testing  informed consent  bioethics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1471-8847.2011.00304.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,316
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

15 ( #296,139 of 1,932,585 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #456,398 of 1,932,585 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.