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Mandatory HIV screening for non-Muslims too?

PEKAN, 20 Dec 2008: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government will study whether the non-Muslims can be required to undergo HIV screening before they get married to prevent the spread of the disease.

He said that for the Muslims, HIV screenings were compulsory as part of the premarital course while the non-Muslims were not required to undergo any premarital course.

“So if the HIV screening is to be made compulsory (for the non-Muslims), we don’t know whether this can be enforced,” he said when asked whether non-Muslim couples will be required to undergo HIV screening which will be made compulsory for the Muslims from next year.

He said the government also had to be get feedbacks from the community especially the non-Muslim couples intending to get married if the requirement was to be imposed on them.

“We don’t know their reaction to this proposal,” he told reporters after presenting contributions to the children of Pahang Umno executive secretary Datuk Abdullah Rahmat who died in a road accident on 10 Dec along the East-Coast Expressway.

Najib said that presently, there were no legal provisions which make it compulsory for non-Muslim couples to undergo HIV screening and normally they went for the test voluntarily.

“If you want to make it compulsory, there have to be some legal provisions.

“There is no legal provision yet and it is always considered as voluntary but if you look at it from the society’s point of view as well as the point of view from the individuals concerned especially the would-be-spouses, it would be to their interest as well to know whether their would-be-husbands are free from HIV or not.

“So at the moment I think for the non-Muslims, we should go on the basis of encouraging them on voluntary basis to subject themselves to be tested and screened for HIV,” he said. — Bernama


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