Unchanged number of pregnant women found to have become infected with syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B

All pregnant women are offered screening for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B. Last year recorded a number of infectees comparable to that seen the preceding year.

The objective of the general screening of pregnant women is to avoid mother-to-child transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis. The general practitioner's role is decisive in making the screening a success, Table 1.

EPI-NEWS 2017 no 35 - table 1

General screening of pregnant women for hepatitis B was introduced on 1 November 2005, and screening for HIV and syphilis was initiated on 1 January 2010. The overwhelming majority of cases in which a pregnant woman transferred any of three conditions to her child have been avoided.

In 2016, the general pregnancy screening programme detected a total of 203 women with hepatitis B, 40 women with HIV and 12 women with syphilis. In 2015, the corresponding figures were 187, 44 and 12, respectively.

Of the 12 women with syphilis, 6 were born in Denmark, which demonstrates that syphilis is also present in the general population and not only among men who have sex with men.

A child whose mother had not been tested during her pregnancy had congenital syphilis and another child had become infected with HIV during labour in 2016; the mother had become infected after her screening.

The GP can choose to test several times during pregnancy

The GP may decide to test risk-group women for HIV and syphilis several times during their pregnancy, but no additional tests should be introduced into the general pregnancy screening programme.

As the syphilis screening tests made among pregnant women produce many false-positive test results, a full serological testing is required of anyone who tests positive in the screening.

To diagnose the children who are congenitally infected with hepatitis B, the general practitioner shall test all children born by carrier mothers once the vaccination series has been concluded, i.e. when the child is 13-15 months old.

For more information, please see EPI-NEWS 35/17.


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