Staff Reporter

GUNTUR: A survey conducted by H.R. Service Organisation in Guntur, Prakasam and Nalgonda districts among all age groups, castes, religions and economic strata, 95 per cent of the respondents supported a compulsory HIV test for boys and girls before marriage.

A gastroenterologist Y. Shaik in a press conference here on Friday claimed that the charitable organisation set up by him had conducted the survey over a period of two months taking a sample of 3,000 from the three districts with 50 per cent of the sample comprising youth below the marriageable age, which showed that every prospective bride and bridegroom had inherent fear about the HIV status of their fiancé or fiancee.

To make sure they entered into a safe wedlock majority of them unanimously preferred an HIV test, but found it difficult to ask the other party to get it tested or tell them that they were getting tested.“To overcome this situation the Government must come forward with a bill in the Assembly making testing mandatory for all before marriage,” said Dr. Shaik.

Generating public opinion on the issue would be prime area of functioning of the Service Organisation in addition to conducting medical camps.

Public debate

As part of this exercise, the HRSO will organise a public debate on Sunday from 10.30 am to 1 p.m. at NGGO’s Kalyana Mandapam in Guntur involving people from six major political parties, intellectuals, doctors and people from all walks of life to elicit their opinion on this, he announced.