U.N. Urges Indian State of Goa to Call Off Plans to Require HIV Tests for Marriage
March 29, 2006
UNAIDS country director for India Denis Broun on Monday urged the Indian state of Goa not to require couples registering for marriage to be screened for HIV, the Financial Times reports (Johnson, Financial Times, 3/28). The government of Goa earlier this month announced that it plans to amend the Goa Public Health Act to require HIV testing for couples wishing to marry. If either or both individuals test positive, the couple then can decide whether to proceed with the marriage. The measure already had sparked debate among advocacy groups, who say that compulsory HIV testing cannot be imposed on people (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/21). "Ninety percent of people with HIV in India are unaware of their status," Broun said, adding, "But compulsion is always counter-productive." J.J. Dias, project director of the Goa State AIDS Control Society -- a member of the central government's National AIDS Control Organization -- said, "We are not in favor of this at all and we must have a state debate on this issue." HIV advocates also say that requiring marital HIV tests would give people the false impression that they are safe from contracting HIV in marriage, would further limit women's ability to negotiate safer sex with their husbands and would become tantamount to a certificate of virginity for women (Financial Times, 3/28).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.