I don’t know whether HIV test is compulsory anywhere for registering marriages.

In India, the state government of Andhra Pradesh has taken a crucial decision regarding the issue and is all set to make the test mandatory soon.

According to the U.N. India has the highest caseload with 5.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS. Of this 1.5 million cases are in Andhra Pradesh, making it second only to Maharashtra.

Recently the top brass of the state government and the ruling party have undergone AIDS test with a massive media blitz in order to generate public awareness about the disease and remove misconceptions about it. The other day a minister went as far as to adopt two HIV infected boys aged six and four. The boys’ parents succumbed to AIDS last week.

In India “some of the most painful parts of HIV infection [are]- prejudice, rejection, hurt, ostracism, etc.”, says a study.

In September last year, a man with full-blown AIDS in eastern India was stoned by villagers, who were scared he would spread the HIV infection. The 35-year-old man died later of his injuries. (Link).

In an incident near here a few weeks back a primary school boy was sent away from school and other schools nearby refused to give him admission, because his father died of AIDS and his mom and he tested positive.

A new group called Network of Positive People (NPP+) started by HIV positive people in Andhra Pradesh works for “raising awareness in the community to create a better environment for people living with HIV/AIDS.” Its various activities aimed at the infected are commendable.

The government hopes that there won’t be any hue and cry from any corner, especially religious bodies and orthodoxies regarding the proposed legislation. In India you can’t help inviting trouble from people whose religious sentiments you hurt by such things. And politicians are wary of that.

There’s also concern that it will result in an avalanche of fake test certificates that many people will pay for instead of obtaining genuine ones after tests.

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