antenatal screening programme


This condition is currently under review.
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Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV1) is a retrovirus (like HIV) which affects the immune system. It is associated with certain leukaemia and lymphoma. Most people have no symptoms.

Read more about lymphoma and HTLV1 on the NHS website.

UK NSC screening recommendation Based on the last UK NSC review of this condition that occurred in December 2017.

Screening is not currently recommended for this condition.

Screening is not recommended for HTLV in the UK because:

  • there is not enough evidence to say that the benefits of screening outweigh the harms
  • the number of people with HTLV in the UK is low
  • it is not known how well the test performs in pregnant women
  • it is unlikely that the mother will pass on the virus to her child unless she breastfeeds for more than 6 months
  • most infants infected with HTLV do not develop symptoms and the risk of developing a serious illness appears to be low
  • there is no treatment for HTLV and the only approach is the avoidance of breastfeeding particularly after 6 months
  • screening may make some women and their families feel anxious, depressed or stigmatised as there is no treatment

Supporting documents from the 2017 review

Evidence summary HTLV (2017)
This document provides the evidence on which the current UK NSC recommendation is based.

UK NSC coversheet & consultation responses HTLV (2017)
This document summarises the review process including the public consultation comments.

Review cycle

Date previous review completed: 2017

Next review estimated to be completed: 2021 to 2022.

To see previous evidence reviews, visit the UK NSC archive.

Organisations interested in HTLV

These organisations have expressed interest in this recommendation and may submit responses to evidence reviews.

List of organisations

If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for organisation can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.