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Antenatal HIV screening in regional Tasmania


Ayton, J and Bennett-Daly, G and Nguyen, A and Bills, H and Bullock, P and Stephens, N and Owen, LM, Antenatal HIV screening in regional Tasmania, Rural Medicine Australia national Conference, 12-15 October 2022, Canberra (2022) [Conference Extract]

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Background: While Australia has a national recommendation for routine antenatal HIV testing of all pregnant women, the testing rates in Tasmanian remain low.

Objectives: This qualitative study used Foucauldian-informed discourse analysis to explore regional clinicians’ antenatal HIV testing practices and the perceived barriers to routine testing.

Methods: Twenty-three one-to-one semi-structured phone interviews were conducted with health and medical clinicians (Midwives n=10, General Practitioners (GP) n=9, and Obstetricians (n=4) from the north, northwest, and southern Tasmania.

Results: Antenatal HIV testing is practised within a discourse of clinical apathy; where the risk of HIV in pregnancy is perceived and talked about as a theoretical risk. The use of technical policy language such as ‘recommended’ acts to mitigate the fear of doing the wrong thing, i.e., deviating from the policy.

Conclusions: Overall, in regional Tasmania, antenatal HIV testing is undertaken within a hierarchy of technical terms and a historical discourse of HIV stigma. This appears is to constrain universal prenatal HIV testing of all women in Tasmania generating some confusion amongst clinicians as to who is eligible to be tested. Replacing the word ‘recommended’ with ‘universal’ in policy and guidelines may help to change practices.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:HIV, pregnancy, regional, screening, testing
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Primary health care
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Disease distribution and transmission (incl. surveillance and response)
UTAS Author:Ayton, J (Dr Jeffrey Ayton)
UTAS Author:Bennett-Daly, G (Ms Grace Bennett-Daly)
UTAS Author:Nguyen, A (Miss Amy Nguyen)
UTAS Author:Stephens, N (Associate Professor Nicola Stephens)
UTAS Author:Owen, LM (Dr Louise Owen)
ID Code:153962
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2022-10-18
Last Modified:2022-10-19

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