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Should The Church Have The Right To Demand A HIV Certificate Before Marriage?

I have been a passive follower of the threads on this forum and I must say I am highly impressed with the comments and topics. I have decided to throw in my own topic and it is:

Should the church have the right to demand that about to be wedded couples do a HIV test before getting married in church? This was the topic of a recent debate in a BBC Africa living interactive programme. Sometime last month the Catholic Church in Botswana issued a statement that about to be wedded couples should take a compulsory HIV test before they are allowed to be wedded in church, what is your view?

My view is this: much as I agree with the uncompromising abstinence policy of the church, on this issue I think the catholic authorities in Botswana with all its good intention got it wrong. This policy in my view only goes to stigmatise people living with HIV. Education I think is the key not stigmatization. Don’t get me wrong I am not encouraging people to get married no matter how “blindly in love” without first checking their status.

I believe the decision should be voluntary and consensual. Possible flaws this policy might encounter include the fact that the church has not the means of authenticating the validity of the HIV certificate, what happens if one party tests positive days or even months before marriage. You don’t need a soothsayer to tell you then that one of the parties is positive and in a society like ours where stigmatisation and ignorance is rife one can only imagine how the life of the affected party would be like thereafter.

People should be counselled on the menace of HIV, testing should be voluntary not compulsory! What do you think?

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