Friday, September 22, 2000

Doctor group urges prenatal HIV tests

The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE — The Kentucky Medical Association approved a resolution calling for HIV testing for all pregnant women in the state, regardless of whether they are at risk for the disease.

        Dr. Harry Carloss, outgoing president of the association, said the action Wednesday night means that HIV screening will, essentially, become a standard practice in Kentucky.

        “This is a huge public-health problem, and it's growing every day,” Dr. Carloss said.

        Of the state's 8,000 doctors, 6,000 are KMA members and are required to follow its guidelines.

        Dr. Carloss said transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus from mother to fetus is preventable, but too few women are being tested.

        “A lot of people think they cannot be victims of AIDS. A lot of people think they've had a monogamous relationship for many years and do not need to be tested,” he said. “It's not worth the risk. When you have a baby born with HIV, that baby doesn't have a chance.”

        The resolution on prenatal testing for HIV is similar to one approved by the American Medical Association in 1995. That resolution was a recommendation to doctors, who may or may not follow the AMA standards.

        The resolution was one of several approved by the KMA, which is holding its annual meeting this week in Louisville. Others include:

        • Encouraging high school coaches and parents to consult doctors before allowing players to use creatine monohydrate to enhance athletic performance.

        • Asking the Kentucky General Assembly to repeal the law allowing all-terrain vehicles to operate on two-lane roads under certain conditions.

        • Urging the legislature to pass a law requiring bicycle riders to wear helmets.


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