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15.02.2005 Regional News

Churches asked not to insist on HIV test as condition for marriage

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Wa, Feb.15, GNA - A Nursing Officer in the Wa Regional Hospital has called on the clergy to respect the rights of church members to keep their HIV status secret.

Miss Philomena Santa said it was therefore wrong for some churches to insist on HIV test as a condition for marriage She made the call during a day's forum on HIV/AIIDS organized for female members of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in the Wa Municipality at Wa.

Miss Santa, who is in charge of HIV/AIDS Counselling and Testing at the hospital said the HIV status of people was strictly confidential and no one should be coerced to disclose it to any other person except a medical officer.

"If a person decides to marry an HIV positive man or woman, that is entirely his or her choice."

In a speech on his behalf, the Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Godfrey Bayon Tangu called for a vigorous campaign to reduce the stigmatisation of People Living With AIDS (PLWAS). Miss Fati Tambro, Regional Chairperson of the TUC Women's Committee, observed that the war against the pandemic would not be won, if people failed to show love and compassion to the PLWAS.

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