By Gbenga Ariyibi
Ado Ekiti—It is now an offence in Ekiti State for places of worship like churches and mosques to compel prospective couples to take mandatory HIV/AIDS tests before joining them in marriage.
It is equally an offence to expose results of such tests to other parties before the person tested knows his or her status.
Project Manager of Ekiti State Action Committee on AIDS Dr Charles Olusegun Doherty made this known in Ado Ekiti yesterday during the commemoration of year 2014 Worlds Aids Day and awareness proogramme.
Doherty noted that it was illegal for priests or other religious leaders to mandate prospective couples to take HIV/AIDs test before marriage.
‘It is illegal for any individual or organization especially religious bodies to mandate people to go for HIV/AIDs screening exercise.
‘’Also, the results should be given to the individuals concerned, even a couple should be treated individually.
He urged people not be afraid of going for screening as drugs are now available in case of infection.
Also speaking at the occasion,wife of the Ekiti State governor, Mrs. Feyisetan Fayose who led the awareness walk canvassed for increased support in terms of medication and creation of awareness against stigmatization, for the patients of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS.
Mrs. Fayose made the call yesterday during the state’s marking of the World’s AIDs day with the sub-theme: Stigma Ends with me” held at the Fajuyi Park in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
Noting that the state government is concerned about the need to support the fight against AIDS/HIV, She said: “Ekiti State government is not unmindful of the barriers to the treatment and prevention of the disease some of which include stigmatizarion, lack of proper medication and support for awareness creation among others.