New Delhi: In one of such major decisions by any state government, Goa on Tuesday announced that it is planning to make the HIV test mandatory for couples before the registration of marriage.
Speaking to reporters, Goa’s health minister Viswajit Rane said that the state government is also planning to bring a legislation in this regard.
“The plan is to make the HIV test mandatory for couples before registration of marriage in Goa and in this regard the Goa law department is vetting the proposal” he said.
The law once prepared will be tabled in the State Assembly so that it can be mooted in the house and accordingly passed during the upcoming monsoon session.
In 2006, the then Congress-led state government proposed similar legislation which met with opposition from several quarters.
HIV is a virus that targets and alters the immune system, increasing the risk and impact of other infections and diseases. Without treatment, the infection might progress to an advanced disease stage called AIDS.
However, modern advances in treatment mean that people living with HIV in countries with good access to healthcare very rarely develop AIDS once they are receiving treatment.
The life expectancy of a person who carries the HIV virus is now approaching that of a person that tests negative for the virus, as long as they adhere to a combination of medications called antiretroviral therapy (ART) on an ongoing basis.
According to various studies, India has the third largest HIV epidemic in the world, with 2.1 million people living with HIV.
India’s epidemic is concentrated among key affected populations including sex workers and men who have sex with men.
The National AIDS Control Programme, however, has made particular efforts to reach these two high-risk groups with HIV interventions.
Compared to neighbouring countries, India has made good progress in reducing new HIV infections by half since 2001.
Despite free antiretroviral treatment being available, uptake remains low as many people face difficulty in accessing clinics, according to studies