World AIDS Day: Why premarital HIV test is still a taboo

While the government is still doing its best to spread awareness on HIV/AIDS, it is also our responsibility to be vigilant about the disease. But, neither do matrimonial sites nor does the family set-up encourages young people to bring up this issue in front of their partner before they get marriage

World AIDS Day: Why premarital HIV Test is still a taboo

A woman life can shatter in a moment when they realised that they have tested positive for HIV post marriage. They are even more devastated, when they realise that they have contracted the life-threatening virus from their husband, but there is little they can do.

While these cases are not unusual, youngsters from Pune who are looking for a match are still not vocal enough to ask for their partners to undergo a HIV test before marriage. Neither the matrimonial sites nor does the family set-up encourages young people to bring up the issue before they get marriage.

Although, the need to check medical compatibility is understood by youngsters, the traditional marriage set-up is not encouraging them to speak up for it. Though state government is actively considering the move to make HIV test mandatory before marriage, there hasn’t been much progress on this front.

Gauri Kadam, a resident of Pune, who is seeking a match on different matrimonial websites, said, “Asking for such tests gives rise to certain trust issues in arrange marriage set-up. When the society is so conservative, though everyone knows the importance of such tests, these questions are barely asked. Also, a person can come up with a fake test results.”

“Our society is very worried regarding matching Kundali, but not for tests like HIV. I am convinced that these tests should be conducted before marriage, but I fear that this might upset the family and the girl,” said Amit Desai, from Pune who is also looking for a match through different matrimonial sites.

On one of the matrimonial sites, there is a column for medical history. The major matrimonial websites in India still do not have a mandatory column to fill in medical history details.

The local matrimonial platforms, through their workshops make people aware about these tests, but leave it optional on the candidates.

Tanmay Kanitkar, who runs Anuroop Wiwah Sanstha in Pune, which has more than 30,000 registered candidates, said, “As far as my memory goes, no one has ever come to me and have said that he or she wants to marry the person only after getting HIV tests. We stress the point of doing such tests in our workshops, but no one makes it a point for actual undergoing it. Candidates are not yet vocal about such tests.”

Dr V Sam Prasad, Country Programme Director, AIDS Healthcare Foundation said, “Discrimination against people affected with AIDS is very much prevalent in our society. AIDS is seen as an immoral act and there is a stigma associated with AIDS patients. This isolates those suffering from it. To change this picture there is a need to talk more about the subject so that the discomfort associated with it goes away with time.”