Vol. 4 Num 19 Mon. June 16, 2003  

Clarion call for pre-marital AIDS test

Twenty-seven-year old Jahnabi Goswami has a personal reason for campaigning to make pre-marital AIDS tests mandatory -- she was infected with HIV by her husband soon after they married.

"In India, a majority of parents visit astrologers with horoscopes of the bride and the groom to find out if the couple will stay happy after marriage," Goswami, a resident of the northeastern state of Assam, told AFP.

"But from my personal experience, instead of matching horoscopes, it would be wise if the couple go for a blood test to rule out being HIV-positive."

HIV positive Indian woman Jahnabi Goswami looks through a window in Guwahati on June 13. Goswami is leading a campaign to have pre-marital AIDS tests made mandatory. She was infected with the virus by her husband who died in 1996, and now works as a counsellor with the AIDS Control Society in Assam. PHOTO: AFP