Aug 23, 2008

India - To Marry,Get a No-HIV certificate

MADURAI: It is not unusual for enlightened young women in Tamil Nadu to insist on their grooms being screened for HIV before marriage. But a wedding hall in Chinnamanur in Theni district has gone a step further. It insists that all brides and grooms solemnizing their marriage in the hall get a ‘no HIV' certificate first. The hall's unusual condition came under spotlight when a 25-year-old autorickshaw driver, Selvam, was spurned by his fiance on the eve of their wedding on Thursday after she came to know that he had tested positive for HIV. Selvam was surprised when he was informed that he and his bride-to-be had to undergo a HIV test before conducting their marriage at the Maravar Makkal Manram. The young man was in for a further shock when he tested positive for HIV at the Theni government hospital. Selvam hails from the same Chinnamanur village and a bride was chosen for him from Allinagaram in Theni. Their marriage was to take place at the Maravar Makkal Mandram on Thursday. On Wednesday, the management of the hall, however, told the parents of both the bride and the groom that they had to abide by certain conditions if the wedding was to take place in their hall. The two parties agreed and Selvam and his bride underwent the necessary medical tests at the Theni government hospital. When they got the results the same evening, Selvam came to know that he had tested positive for HIV. When the parents of the bride were informed about the results, they stopped the wedding and thanked the hall managers and left for home. E Muthu, member of the managing board of the marriage hall and also the state organizer of the Muvender Munnetra Kazhagam, said they had taken the decision to insist on HIV screening for couples about to be married as there were many women in Chinnamanur and the surrounding villages who had lost their husbands to AIDS.

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