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Home > News > Report

HIV test must before marriage: AP CM

Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderbad | April 17, 2007 19:02 IST

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy on Tuesday exuded confidence that the state government will be able to implement its initiative to make both the groom and bride tested for HIV/AIDS before marriage.

He also stressed the need for bringing awareness among the public about the benefits of HIV/AIDS testing.

"I fail to understand the reasons behind the objections raised by some human rights activists on the government's initiative for making HIV/AIDS tests mandatory for couples before marriage. I somehow do not understand what sort of a human right this is which allows you to transmit the disease like HIV/AIDS to your partner and subsequently to the next generation," he quipped.

Launching the 'Balasahyoga' programme, Dr Reddy asserted that his government was trying to create awareness and public opinion in favour of the new initiative of bringing in a law, for the first time in the country, to make HIV/AIDS tests mandatory despite objections from the 'so called human rights activists.'

The state government was committed to achieve zero HIV positive rate among new-born babies by having effective screening of pregnant women to prevent vertical transmission of the disease, he said.

"Our government is adopting a multi-pronged approach to combat HIV/AIDS. Mankind has overcome many difficult situations. I am quite sure that we will be able to overcome this problem," he added.

Reddy explained that Balasahyoga programme will be able to make a difference in the lives of those unfortunate families and their children by providing them the much needed support and services. He thanked international funding agencies for providing $14 million assistance over a period of five years to provide support to children and families having HIV with a comprehensive package.

The Balasahyoga programme is aimed at improving the quality of life of children infected and affected by HIV and AIDS and their families in the state through expanding coverage of comprehensive HIV and AIDS care, support and treatment services in all the 23 districts.

Children's Investment Fund Foundation chief executive officer Ms Jamie Cooper- Hohn expressed concern over the UNAIDS report that nearly 1.2 lakh children in India were infected with HIV.

She lamented that Andhra Pradesh was one of the country's six high HIV prevalent states with 19 out of 23 districts having very high prevalence of one per cent or more among women attending government antenatal clinics.

As per reports, India has an estimated 52 lakh people living with HIV/AIDS. Nearly 40 per cent of India's AIDS patients are women. About 1.2 lakh children are estimated to be infected with HIV in 2004.