Sex Transm Infect 88:184-186 doi:10.1136/sextrans-2011-050232
  • Clinical
  • Short report

Testing the fathers: carrying out HIV and STI tests on partners of pregnant women

  1. J Anderson
  1. Department of Sexual Health, Homerton University NHS Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr R Dhairyawan, Department of Sexual Health, Homerton Hospital, Homerton Row, London E9 6SR, UK; rdhairyawan{at}
  1. Contributors RD: wrote and revised the paper and assisted in collecting and analysing data. SC: helped to conceive the project and to set up the intervention, collected data and reviewed the paper. LS: helped to conceive the project, advised on setting up the intervention and reviewed the paper. JA: helped to conceive the project, applied for the Gilead Fellowship, helped set up the intervention and reviewed the paper.

  • Accepted 19 November 2011
  • Published Online First 23 December 2011


Objectives Opt out antenatal HIV testing has significantly reduced mother to child transmission of HIV, but seroconversion during pregnancy from undiagnosed HIV positive male partners remains a risk. The authors report on a pilot initiative for sexual health and HIV screening for male partners of women attending antenatal ultrasound examination at Homerton Hospital, London.

Methods Men attending with their female partners for routine ultrasound examination between 1 August 2010 and 31 January 2011 were offered on-site serology for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C and urine testing for Neiserria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis. Results were followed up through the genitourinary medicine service. Referral pathways were established for men with positive results.

Results 1243 male partners of 2400 women attended ultrasound examinations, of whom 430 accepted testing (acceptance rate 35% and coverage rate 18%). Median age was 32 years (range 19–52). 112/430 (26%) male partners were of black ethnicity. 41% had previously had a HIV test. There was no difference in prior HIV testing between whites and non-whites. 16 infections were diagnosed, including two cases of hepatitis C, eight cases of hepatitis B and six cases of C trachomatis. No HIV diagnoses were made.

Conclusions The authors have shown that it is acceptable and feasible to engage heterosexual men for testing in this setting. Of those men who accepted HIV testing, more than half had never been previously tested. 4% of men tested had an infection, which had the potential to affect the outcome of the pregnancy.


  • Funding Gilead Fellowship Programme award 2010. Keeping Strong: Healthy Fathers Project.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This is a service intervention, not a research study. Hence ethics approval is not needed for the study.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.