Burundi Catholic Church Ties Marriage to HIV Test
March 27, 2006
On Saturday, the Catholic Church in Burundi declared it will not conduct weddings for couples unless they take an HIV test. "We do not demand that the fiancés show us the test results, but we demand the proof that they have taken the test and told the truth," said Father Gelase Mugerowimana of the Bujumbura pastoral parish. The announcement was criticized by Jeanne Gapiya, head of Burundi's National Association of People with HIV/AIDS, who said the policy "violates the right of the individual and threatens to counter the fight against the disease." "That the Catholic Church should play its moral role in the society is one thing, but to play the police by giving orders is prejudicial to the fight against AIDS." About 70 percent of the 7.6 million people in the tiny central African nation are Roman Catholics. Burundi's AIDS prevalence was estimated at 10.5 percent in 2002.
Agence France Presse
Burundi: Disease Transmission -- Program Teaches Health Workers About Preventing Mother-to-Child HIV Infection