Couple who are tying the knot in Goa may soon have to undergo an HIV test as the state government is planning to make it mandatory before registration of marriage. “We are considering making an HIV test compulsory for the prospective couples before registration of marriage in Goa. It is not mandatory right now,” Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane told IANS. The Goa law department is vetting the proposal to make the test compulsory in the coastal state, he said.
This is not the first time such a proposal is being mooted. In 2006, the then health minister Dayanand Narvekar managed to get the state cabinet to approve legislation making HIV testing mandatory before marriage. However, the initiative never took off and ended up collapsing before the legislature could bring it into law.
The state is going the extra mile in taking preventive measure even as the number of cases have considerably come down in the last few years. According to Goa State AIDS Control Society, number of people who were tested positive in 2014 and 2015 were 449 and 329 . The figure saw a marginal increase in 2016 and 2017 when the state witnessed 360 and 366 cases respectively. In 2018, HIV cases dropped sharply with a total of 269 cases in 2018.
The total number of people living with HIV in India is estimated at 21.40 lakhs in 2017, according to National AIDS Control Organisation. India is estimated to have around 87.58 thousand new HIV infections in 2017, showing new HIV infection decline by 85% since the peak of 1995 and by 27% between 2010-2017.