It is advisable to carry out HIV testing on all pregnant women. The test is voluntary and, after receiving pre-test information, the woman has the right to refuse testing (as described later, in Section 16.5.2). A signed consent form is not needed in Ethiopia to conduct the HIV test — but obtaining clear verbal consent is essential.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the health services in many countries, including Ethiopia, promote a policy of provider-initiated HIV testing and counselling. This means that when trained to do so, you should offer and provide HIV testing and counselling routinely as part of your maternal and child health services. You should not wait for the woman to ask for it (client-initiated HIV testing and counselling). If you have not been trained in these competencies, you should offer pre-test education and refer the woman to the nearest health centre, or inform her of a date for outreach testing.