An Institute of Medical Ethics working party supports the view that explicit permission should normally be sought in the case of testing for HIV antibody. It discusses this in relation to anonymised HIV testing for epidemiological purposes, concluding that this is to be welcomed, given certain safeguards. It next argues that pregnant women may have a greater and more immediate need than others to know their HIV status. It concludes that this need does not justify testing them without their permission, but can be met by voluntary diagnostic testing on an 'opting-out' basis, supported by adequate briefing.
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