AP plans pre-marriage HIV test
Andhra Pradesh is set to become the first to make it mandatory for couples to take a HIV test before tying the knot.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.
First Published: Dec 20, 2006 21:47 IST