Senegal civil society begins discussion of pre-marriage HIV test bill

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- Senegalese civil society groups, jurists, health professionals and development partners on Monday began discussion of a draft bill on pre-marital HIV screening before it is debated by Parliament.
The draft bill urges "relevant civilian, customary and religious authorities in the area of marriage to encourage future spouses to do the screening test before sealing their union".
However, the Senegalese Family and Women Entrepreneurship Minister, Mrs Awa Ndiaye, has asked whether the principle of confidentiality would be preserved and the rights of the persons scrupulously respected.
She said it was important to analyse the impact of pre-marital HIV screening on the overall strategy for the protection and management of the patient".
This, she said, was against the background of "increased vulnerability of women, the strong feminisation of the disease and the high risk of mother-to-child transmission".
The United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has since 1996 urged various states to reform their laws to ensure that they adequately responded to HIV-related public health problems.
However, these should be in conformity with international obligations in the area of human rights.

26 november 2007 21:32:00

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