May 14, 2014
This article was reported by The Sun News.
The Sun News reported that as part of a new National HIV Prevention Plan, Nigeria recently passed a statute that requires mandatory HIV testing before couples can get married in Christian or Muslim religious ceremonies. Before they are allowed to perform the ceremonies, religious leaders are obliged to establish proof of test results from both the bride and groom. Due to their informal makeup, traditional marriages were not included in this measure.
According to Dr. Yakubu Abubakar, director of Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, TB, Leprosy, and Malaria, this new order, which had input from local communities and state and national stakeholders, is meant to increase HIV prevention and reduce transmission throughout the West African country.
Due to the high numbers of HIV deaths and increasing figures of orphaned children, the country passed the measure so couples can make informed decisions on prevention of transmission to partners, as well as to future children. Mandatory marriage testing also will give Nigeria's government additional data on HIV prevalence to provide more accurate support services.