The Indian government is now planning to rope in Midwives to do HIV testing to prevent the spread of HIV from expecting mothers.
The Health Ministry will issue a notification by the end of July allowing midwives trained by the government to conduct HIV testing on pregnant women to diagnose the infection at an early stage.
The goal is to make HIV testing more accessible in order to prevent parent to child transmission of HIV or AIDS virus.
"Prevention of parent to child transmission of HIV virus is an essential part of AIDS control program. While such testing is often available and conducted in a good hospital setting, it is not the same in rural areas and distant villages. Most of the time HIV screening does not happen even at public health centres (PHCs)," says Nochiketa Mohanty, country program manager at Aids Healthcare Foundation India.
Midwives will be trained by state and district AIDS control organizations to conduct rapid tests to check HIV virus. Rapid tests are cold blood tests done through finger pricking. Midwives will be allowed to do the tests anytime during the pregnancy prior to delivery.
The government may consider allowing ayurvedacharyas or AYUSH doctors to conduct HIV tests at a later stage.