Find Free NJ Legal Information

Welcome to the LSNJLAWSM website, provided by Legal Services of New Jersey (LSNJ). LSNJ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit offering free civil legal assistance to low-income people in New Jersey. Find legal information by clicking on a legal topic or typing a few words into the search box.

LAW Home > Legal Topics > Health Care > Rights Connected with Special Medical Problems > HIV and AIDS

HIV/AIDS Testing for Pregnant Women


Do I have to get tested for HIV if I am pregnant?

HIV testing of all pregnant women in prenatal care is part of routine care. New Jersey uses ‘opt-out screening’ for HIV, meaning that although HIV tests are not legally required, medical providers will administer the test, as part of routine care, and must inform patients before the test is administered. You can decline or defer the test. Any refusal to have the test administered must be documented in the medical record.

The medical provider who diagnoses your pregnancy or the provider who sees you within four weeks after you give birth must offer testing, information and counseling about HIV/AIDS.

What happens if I refuse to get tested?

All persons undergoing testing will be provided with written or oral information about HIV/AIDS.  If you choose to decline or refuse the HIV test you will need to sign an informed consent  form that states that you have chosen not to be tested and that you have been provided with the required information regarding:

  • HIV and how HIV is transmitted
  • The risks and benefits of being tested for HIV as early as possible in her pregnancy, testing
  • The implications of HIV test results, the medical treatments available to treat HIV infection if you test positive, and the interventions available to reduce transmission to the fetus 
  • Your right to refuse to be tested without fear of the denial of any appropriate prenatal care for yourself or care for your baby.

Does my baby have to be tested?

If you were HIV+ during the pregnancy or your HIV status is not known, your newborn will be tested, unless written religious objection is contained in the medical record of the newborn.

When during my pregnancy would I be tested?

The CDC recommends that all pregnant women be tested as early in the pregnancy as possible and usually again in the third trimester.

What kind of test is it?

The testing is included as part of the standard prenatal blood tests.

What happens to the test results?

The test results are confidential information. The medical provider must make every reasonable effort to inform you of the results of the test and their meaning, advise you on how to prevent infection for negative results and provide you post-test counseling for positive results.

All HIV test results are required to be sent to the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services as important public health data.

Where can I get more information?

Call the NJ AIDS/STD Hotline (1-800-624-2377), or visit HIV/AIDS, STD and TB Services (from the New Jersey Department of Health).

You can now have an HIV test which will give you results in 20-40 minutes. Rapid testing sites are located throughout the state. For information about HIV rapid testing, and to find a testing location near you, visit Rapid HIV Testing (from the New Jersey Department of Health).​