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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123


ARAUJO, Maria Alix Leite; VIEIRA, Neiva Francenely Cunha  and  SILVA, Raimunda Magalhães da. HIV-testing for pregnant women in a Family Health Unit in Fortaleza, Ceará. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2008, vol.13, n.6, pp.1899-1906. ISSN 1678-4561.

Free access to prenatal care and HIV tests represent the first step in the prevention of vertical transmission and guarantees early prophylactic measures. This study aims at analyzing the coverage of HIV testing in pregnant women in a Basic Family Health Unit in the city of Fortaleza, Ceará. The theoretical-methodological basis of the study was the grounded theory, which proposes generation of theory from data derived from the social reality. Data were collected through participant observation, open interviews with physicians, nurses and pregnant women and in focal groups with pregnant women and health agents. The women faced institutional barriers to prenatal care and HIV testing. Difficulties in making the appointments for prenatal care hampered early identification of pregnant women and delayed their assistance. With respect to HIV testing, the study found that the Basic Health Unit does not collect the biologic material; there are few laboratories performing this kind of exam and those who do are very far from the pregnant women's residences. This study concludes that even in the Family Health Unit, the access to prenatal care for pregnant women remains difficult, and that the prevention of vertical HIV transmission depends on political, institutional and structural changes.

Keywords : Accessibility; HIV infection; Primary health care; Family health; Pregnant women.

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