The use of zidovudine for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus, as well as continuing advances in our understanding of the determinants of that transmission, and of potential new avenues of intervention augur ever more efficient perinatal prevention strategies in the near future. In this paper the evolving role of prenatal testing in an era of ever more successful interventions will be discussed. At least four factors will be critical in determining what that role will be: clinical, legal, ethical and economic. Each of these are parochial, i.e. they will feature in eradication strategies in different ways in different geographical, economic and cultural settings. An understanding of these factors will help to suggest what course testing policy should take and to determine the role clinicians must play if any testing policy is to succeed in contributing to the end of pediatric HIV disease.