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Pre-Marital HIV Testing To Be Made Compulsory In AP, India

Andhra Pradesh, one of the large states of India accounts for 1.5 million of India's 5.7 million HIV/AIDS affected people.//

The government of Andhra Pradesh is set to make it compulsory for couples to take a HIV test before marrying. This is done with a motive of putting an end to the birth of HIV positive babies from 2007.

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

The minister plans to ask legislators to sign a bill in the next session of the state assembly, which is expected to start in March.

But UNAIDS, the United Nations agency fighting HIV/AIDS, does not approve of this move. "Compulsory testing will not work," said UNAIDS India chief Denis Broun.

“This would only result in the boom of fake HIV-negative certificates which could result in serious social and health consequences for couples and their families,” he said.

“The government should focus instead on providing free pre-marriage counseling on a range of issues, including health,” he added.

Majority of the state officials welcome the Health Minister’s suggestion.

“It will be morally good if both the men and women undergo a HIV test before getting into wedlock," Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy said at the inauguration of a HIV testing camp for MLAs (elected representatives in the state assembly).



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