HIV testing in pregnancy

You will be offered a HIV blood test when you have your first blood test during pregnancy. HIV screening can also be done at any time during your pregnancy. It is your choice if you want to have the test.

We recommend HIV screening during pregnancy

HIV tests during pregnancy

HIV is a virus that can make you and your pēpi sick. It can lead to AIDS if it is not detected and left untreated. 

The number of people with HIV in Aotearoa New Zealand is low. But it is increasing, so we offer HIV testing as part of your antenatal care. 

Most pregnant people do not test positive for HIV.

When the test is done 

The HIV test will be done at the same time as your other antenatal blood tests. One sample of blood can be used for all the tests. 

How much the test costs 

Antenatal blood screening tests are free for most people.

Getting your results

You should receive your results within 2 weeks.

If the test is positive, you will have a second blood test to confirm you have HIV. It may take up to 2 weeks for the results of your second test to come back.

Waiting for the result of the second test can be an anxious time. It can help to talk to your midwife, doctor, nurse, or whānau.

If you do have HIV, you will be referred for specialist care and treatment. You will get help and advice to:

  • look after your health 
  • look after the health of your pēpi.

False positive or negative results

There is a very small possibility that an HIV test can show a false positive or negative. It could show a positive when you do not have HIV because the tests are very sensitive.

Or it could show a negative when you do have HIV because your infection is recent and it is too soon to show up on a test. You can have further tests to confirm your results.

What happens to your results

Your pregnancy blood test results, including the HIV result, will be sent to your midwife or doctor. These results are confidential, though they will be included in your maternity notes and health records. These records may be electronic, and shared with other healthcare providers involved in your care. 

Talk to your midwife, doctor or nurse for more information.

Treatment for HIV during pregnancy

There is no cure for HIV. But careful management and long term treatment can help you stay well, and prevent the virus passing to your pēpi. Treatment to prevent HIV being passed on to your pēpi is very effective. 

If you have HIV, the treatment and support you are offered includes:

  • medicines during pregnancy and birth to help you stay healthy for longer
  • medicines during pregnancy and birth to prevent you passing the virus on to your pēpi
  • advice about how to deliver your pēpi safely 
  • medicines for your pēpi for a few weeks after birth 
  • advice on the safest way to feed your pēpi. 

Early treatment and support is important — it helps you and your pēpi remain well. 

For more information about living with HIV, visit the Ministry of Health website. 

HIV/AIDS — Ministry of Health (external link)

The HIV testing programme

To make sure the HIV testing programme is effective, all first pregnancy blood screening results are collected for monitoring. This is confidential and your privacy is protected. 

If you choose not to have the HIV test, you will be asked if the hospital can be informed of your choice.

Collecting information 

Collecting information about all people who have pregnancy blood screening helps us know:

  • how many people choose to have screening 
  • how many people choose not to have screening 
  • some information such as where people come from, and their ethnicity.

Your privacy

This information helps us make sure all people are getting an equal opportunity to have screening. It does not identify individuals. Any details that may identify you will not be used by the programme unless you give specific consent for this. 

You can also ask that your information is not shared with the programme.

Related websites


A pamphlet that explains the HIV screening test. This is available in multiple languages.

Burnett Foundation Aotearoa

The Burnett Foundation Aotearoa focus on preventing the transmission of HIV and providing support for people living with HIV.

Just the Facts

Information on sexual health and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Positive Women

Positive Women provide a support network for women and whānau living with HIV or AIDS.

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