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The Division of HIV/AIDS Services in the Public Health Services Branch of the Department of Health and Senior Services proposes new rules and amendments at N.J.A.C. 8:61, which governs the testing of pregnant women and newborns for HIV.
The rules proposed for adoption would set forth the policies and procedures for testing pregnant women and newborns for HIV. These new procedures incorporate the recommendations and standards of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on routine HIV testing of pregnant women and newborns as well as the latest definitions of HIV and AIDS. Hospitals and ambulatory care birthing facilities would be required to offer information to a pregnant woman that will explain the benefits of HIV testing for both mother and newborn, available medical treatment, benefits of early treatment, right of refusal, and the meaning of an HIV test.
The proposal requires a health care practitioner who is a woman’s primary care provider to provide HIV testing for a pregnant woman as early as possible in her pregnancy as well as during the third trimester, unless she objects or is known to be HIV positive. A health care practitioner in a birthing facility would also be required to provide HIV testing for a pregnant woman. This proposal stipulates that a health care practitioner cannot deny HIV testing on the basis of a woman’s economic status. Furthermore, a health care practitioner cannot deny medical care in the event a woman refuses to be tested.
Hospitals and ambulatory care birthing facilities would be required to inform a newborn’s parents or legal guardian that the newborn will be routinely tested for HIV unless the parents or legal guardian object in writing based upon religious tenets and practices. These facilities would also be required to provide the parents or legal guardian with information about the benefits of HIV testing for the newborn, appropriate medical care and referrals for the woman and newborn as well as follow-up testing of the newborn.
Hospitals and ambulatory care birthing facilities would be required to provide HIV training to labor and delivery staff, to collect and analyze HIV data for use in evaluating and improving performance, and to implement a quality improvement plan for conducting HIV testing.
The notice of the proposed new rules for adoption will appear in the September 21, 2009 issue of the New Jersey Register.
The public has until November 20, 2009 to comment on the proposal. Persons wishing to comment on the proposal must submit their comments in writing to Ruth Charbonneau, Director, Office of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services,
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360