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Home Topics Infectious Diseases Infections A-Z HIV Overall HIV Prevalence ›  Unlinked Anonymous Pregnant Women Surveys

Unlinked Anonymous Pregnant Women Surveys

Key points

Pregnant women are an important group to target for HIV prevention as early diagnosis and appropriate management reduces mother to child transmission and improves the prognosis for the mother. Data from this group can also be used to contribute to the understanding of the burden of HIV in the general population in the UK.

Aims and objectives

  • To monitor progress in reducing mother to child transmission of HIV
  • Monitoring seroprevalence of HIV among women giving birth in the UK
  • To enable estimation of the total number of HIV-infected persons living in the UK


The neonatal dried blood spot survey takes left over dried blood spots taken from newborns around 10 days after birth and tests them for maternal HIV infection. This is a large seroprevalence survey which includes more than 60% of all births in England. Demographic data is collected with spots in selected regions through temporary linkage to birth registration records via the Office for National Statistics. All samples are irreversibly unlinked and anonymised prior to HIV testing. Importantly, the survey will include women whose HIV infection has been diagnosed as well as those unaware of their infection. This therefore gives a measure of overall HIV prevalence in pregnant women.

This survey is conducted in collaboration with the Institute of Child Health, University College London.

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Last reviewed: 31 August 2012