Tuesday, March 28, 2006

HIV in Africa --
The Catholic bishops of Burundi are requiring couples to get HIV tests before getting married.

I don't really see a problem with this, especially if, as the article says, the information will not be given to anyone besides the couple, not even the priest. Encouraging people who engage in risky behavior to get HIV testing can only be a good thing. It also sounds like there may be a problem with people not disclosing their HIV status to their prospective spouses. What good is marriage if not built on a foundation of openness and honesty?

I also tend to think this helps women more than men, if one thinks that the men in a marriage are more likely to engage in multiple partners, frequent a prostitute, or engage in other potentially harmful activities. Those are the sorts of cultural practices that people tend to cite when talking about the spread of AIDS in Africa, right?

In the U.S., some states require STD testing before granting a marriage license. Is anyone up in arms over that practice? It is also possible for those in Burundi to get civil marriages outside the church, so this isn't denying anyone the right to marry.

Am I missing something here that should give me cause for concern?
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