Get access

An Ethical Analysis of Opt-Out HIV Screening for Pregnant Women


  • The authors report no conflict of interest or relevant financial relationships.


Lucia D. Wocial, PhD, RN, Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics, Indiana University Health, 1800 N Capitol Ave, Noyes E 130, Indianapolis, IN 46202.


Critical advances in prevention of mother-to-child-transmission (MTCT) of the HIV in the perinatal period have changed practice recommendations for HIV screening for pregnant women. Using case studies we illustrate the ethical complexities and implications of opt-out HIV testing for pregnant women. Despite the potential for compromised informed consent, an opt-out HIV screening approach is ethically defensible.