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Saudi Arabia to Require Mandatory HIV Testing for Couples Before Marriage

August 30, 2007

Saudi Arabia starting next year plans to require couples wishing to be married to be screened for HIV, Khaled al-Zahrani, the Ministry of Health's assistant undersecretary for preventive medicine, said on Wednesday, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. Couples will be required to receive tests for both HIV and hepatitis at one of more than 20 centers to be established nationwide, according to al-Zahrani. If either partner tests HIV-positive and the couple still wishes to marry, the case will be considered in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice, al-Zahrani said. About 11,000 HIV/AIDS cases were reported in the country between 1984, when the first case was recorded, and the end of 2005, according to a health ministry official (AFP/Yahoo! News, 8/29).

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