- Screening and treatment of pregnant women
for syphillis is effective and affordable
- Screening for cervical cancer, associated
with HPV, is appropriate when treatment is available
- Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended in
some countries for all newborns
Screening for syphilis and cervical cancer is important. Untreated
syphilis in pregnant women can cause spontaneous abortion, stillbirth,
premature birth and infection in the infant. Transmission to
the fetus occurs at least 20 percent of the time, depending
on the stage of the disease in the mother. Screening and treatment
for syphilis is easy to do and cost effective with widely available
kits. A syphilis screening test can be performed while the woman
waits for the result, and treatment with penicillin can begin
immediately if the woman is infected.
Some forms of human papilloma virus appear to be highly associated
with cervical cancer. Early stages of cervical cancer can be
treated but, if left untreated, it is eventually fatal. Cervical
cancer can be detected visually or by Pap smears. Screening
for cervical cancer should be done when treatment is available.
Unfortunately, neither treatment of cervical cancer nor Pap
smears are widely available in many countries.
Hepatitis B can be serious since it affects liver function.
A vaccine to prevent it exists, and a few developed countries
recommend the vaccine for all newborns.