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Karnataka move: Pre-marital HIV tests mandatory
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, March 27
Karnataka is set to bring in legislation to make pre-marital HIV tests compulsory.

Disclosing this here today, health minister R. Ashok said the government had been studying the issue since the past few months after demands from several non-government organisations of the need for such a law. He said the government had also approached the centre in this regard.

Claiming that the manner in which the tests would be conducted and appointment of nodal centres for the same would be discussed at a later stage.

“We want that there should be consensus on the issue first amongst the entire political class in Karnataka and other states also before the measure is implemented.” He said the government’s proposal on this front had been partially delayed due to efforts being made to introduce a simultaneous law on HIV tests in other states also.

“The government wants that the rule should apply even when the bride and groom are from different states,” he added.

The health minister said cases of unsuspecting women being married to HIV positive men were coming to light. He said such cases were also having an adverse effect on society in rural areas where village women were still not aware of the dreaded disease.

He said the government on its part was spreading awareness about HIV through the Karnataka AIDS Prevention Society and also cooperating with NGOs for this purpose.

Leader of the opposition in the legislative council H.K. Patil, however, criticised the minister for waiting for the centre before taking action on the issue. He said the government itself had not even utilised 40 per cent of the funds granted for AIDS prevention programmes.

He said the situation was such that even the post of the director of the State Aids Prevention Society had not been filled up.

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