May 9, 1996
Zainudin Abdul Wahab, Kuala Lampur
have been reading the news from local newspaper mentioning about the pre-marital HIV testing in Thailand.
I read with interest that news which said
that all the soon to be wedded Thais had to undergo compulsory HIV test. I would like to find out more
information on that.
was wondering whether our friends in Thailand could help me on this and would be very much appreciate if
they could send me to any report/s relating
to the above.
Zainudin Abdul Wahab
Section, Min. of Health
Dungun, Bukit Damansara
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
his May 9 posting, Dr. Zainudin Abdul Wahab asked colleagues
in Thailand to send him reports on their premarital HIV testing efforts
so that he and his colleagues in Malaysia could learn from the Thai experience. I too would welcome such
information and hope that you would post
your responses for all in the sea-group to read, rather than sending them directly to Dr. Zainudin.
have talked about the failures of premarital testing, citing earlier experiences in several US states to justify
their concern. Eight years ago, after
premarital screening began in Louisiana and Illinois, marriage licenses
dropped 9 percent in Louisiana and 16 percent in Illinois, possibly as a reaction to mandated HIV testing
(Petersen, LR et al. American Journal of
Public Health 80(9)1087-1090, 1990). Yet 91 percent continued to get married in Louisiana and 84 percent continued
to do so in Illinois, ignoring the
fear of HIV testing that may have kept some away from the alter.
Thailand experience similar problems with
fewer people being willing to get married
after premarital testing was made available? Or have couples recognized
that testing is meant to help rather than harm, allowing them to detect
the virus before it can move from one partner to the other? Do they recognize that Thai public health officials
are doing their job in protecting
susceptibles, or do they feel that government workers are trying to
expose them to public identification, and possible social and psychological
harm? We would all benefit from knowing more about the Thai experience.