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Authors

Andrea Marsh

Abstract

Pediatric AIDS occupies a charged landscape where a public health crisis attracting considerable social, political and scientific attention collides with public distrust of the reproductive decisions of poor women of color and increasing scrutiny of the behavior of all pregnant women. The discovery of medical therapies that reduce significantly the likelihood that an IV-infected woman will give birth to an HIV-infected child, as well as advances in the successful treatment of infected children, have produced a number of state laws and policy proposals calling for universal HIV testing of pregnant women and newborns so that all infected individuals can be identified for treatment. The continuing debate among policymakers in this area is whether pregnant women and new mothers should have the right to choose for themselves whether they and their children should be tested for HIV, or whether prenatal and newborn HIV testing should be mandatory or subject only to some truncated version of informed consent.

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