Low utilization of HIV testing during pregnancy: What are the barriers to HIV testing for women in rural India?

Gita Sinha, Ashok Dyalchand, Manisha Khale, Gopal Kulkarni, Shubha Vasudevan, Robert C. Bollinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Sixty percent of India's HIV cases occur in rural residents. Despite government policy to expand antenatal HIV screening and prevention of maternal-to-child transmission (PMTCT), little is known about HIV testing among rural women during pregnancy. METHODS: Between January and March 2006, a cross-sectional sample of 400 recently pregnant women from rural Maharashtra was administered a questionnaire regarding HIV awareness, risk, and history of antenatal HIV testing. RESULTS: Thirteen women (3.3%) reported receiving antenatal HIV testing. Neither antenatal care utilization nor history of sexually transmitted infection (STI) symptoms influenced odds of receiving HIV testing. Women who did not receive HIV testing, compared with women who did, were 95% less likely to have received antenatal HIV counseling (odds ratio = 0.05, 95% confidence interval: 0.02 to 0.17) and 80% less aware of an existing HIV testing facility (odds ratio = 0.19, 95% confidence interval: 0.04 to 0.75). CONCLUSIONS: Despite measurable HIV prevalence, high antenatal care utilization, and STI symptom history, recently pregnant rural Indian women report low HIV testing. Barriers to HIV testing during pregnancy include lack of discussion by antenatal care providers and lack of awareness of existing testing services. Provider-initiated HIV counseling and testing during pregnancy would optimize HIV prevention for women throughout rural India.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-252
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Antenatal care
  • HIV
  • Pregnancy
  • Rural India
  • Voluntary counseling and testing
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Low utilization of HIV testing during pregnancy: What are the barriers to HIV testing for women in rural India?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this