Government of Goa, India Plans to Require Mandatory HIV Testing for Couples Before Marriage
March 21, 2006
The government of the western India state of Goa on Friday announced that it plans to amend the Goa Public Health Act to require couples registering for marriage to be screened for HIV, the Goa Herald reports (Goa Herald, 3/17). If either or both individuals test positive, the couple then can decide whether to proceed with the marriage, the Economic Times reports (Venkateswaran, Economic Times, 3/18). According to the Times of India, the measure has sparked debate among advocacy groups. Senior Advocate Colin Gonzalves said that "any mandatory testing is wrong. Couples should rather be counseled and educated," adding, "If they want to get a testing done by choice after that, it's their business. But a mandatory test can't be imposed on them" (Sinha, Times of India, 3/18). Goa Health Minister Dayanand Narvekar said he plans to propose an amendment to the act that would allow couples who agree not to be tested to opt out of the test and continue registering the marriage, according to the Navhind Times. Chief Minister Pratapsing Rane in a press conference on Friday said, "The government will consider all other aspects, including morality and privacy, before going ahead with the legislation" (Navhind Times, 3/18). The state government will host a public debate of the bill in May and June (Economic Times, 3/18). Narvekar said that if the assembly passes the measure, Goa will be the first state to implement this law, according to Calcutta's The Telegraph (The Telegraph, 3/18).
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.