AP plans pre-marriage HIV test | india | Hindustan Times
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AP plans pre-marriage HIV test

india Updated: Dec 20, 2006 21:47 IST

Andhra Pradesh, which has the country's largest number of HIV cases, is set to become the first to make it mandatory for couples to take a HIV test before marrying, officials said on Wednesday.

"Since condom use is not very popular, we are considering tough measures like HIV testing before registration of weddings," Health Minister K Rosaiah said.

He plans to ask lawmakers to sign a bill into law in the next session of the state assembly, expected to start in March.

But UNAIDS, the United Nations agency fighting HIV/AIDS, said such a move was not the way forward.

"Compulsory testing will not work," UNAIDS India chief Denis Broun said.

People would buy fake HIV-negative certificates which could result in serious social and health consequences for couples and their families, he said, adding the government should focus instead on providing free pre-marriage counselling on a range of issues, including health.

Officials in the state disagree.

"It will be morally good if both the men and women undergo a HIV test before getting into wedlock," Chief Minister YS ajasekhara Reddy said while opening a HIV testing camp for elected representatives in the state assembly.

Andhra Pradesh accounts for 1.5 million of India's 5.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS.