A policy change from voluntary HIV testing to routine HIV testing for pregnant women led to a dramatic and sustained increase in the number of mothers tested for HIV in Mbale, Uganda. The findings are from a seven-year study published on 14 October 2010 in the journal BMC Health Services Research.

The percentage of pregnant women who were tested for HIV increased from 22 percent during the period when HIV testing was recommended on a voluntary basis to more than 87 percent when HIV testing was routine and initiated by health care providers. The study also indicated that the prevalence of HIV-positive prenatal patients at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital over the seven-year study period was 6.1 percent.

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1. Byamugisha R, Tylleskar T, Kagawa MN, et al. Dramatic and sustained increase in HIV-testing rates among antenatal attendees in Eastern Uganda after a policy change from voluntary counselling and testing to routine counselling and testing for HIV: a retrospective analysis of hospital records, 2002-2009. BMC Health Services Research 2010; 10: 290. (open access)