August 08, 2023

No HIV Test, No Vows


No HIV Test, No Vows
Nicholas Gercken, Unsplash.

The Russian Republic of Ingushetia has moved to forbid marriages of drug users and HIV-positive individuals. 

The republic's leader, Mahmud-Ali Kalimatov, has directed the Minister of National Policy and Information, Vakha Bekov, to address the implementation of an official ban on marriages for drug users and individuals with HIV in the region.

As per Kalimatov's proposal, couples will be required to present certificates confirming their HIV-negative and drug-free status before getting married. The regional leader apparently believes that this measure will effectively combat drug addiction and lead to a decline in divorce rates.

Back in 2012, then-head of Ingushetia Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, put forth a proposal to implement compulsory HIV testing for individuals planning to marry within the republic. In 2017, local activists from the All-Russian People's Front and the Ministry of Health further advocated for the initiative. But the outcome was never disclosed.

Minister Bekov emphasized the meticulous verification process for the authenticity of marriage certificates submitted by prospective couples. Furthermore, Ingushetia authorities have put forth a proposition to impose fines on people who deceive partners into marriage by concealing crucial information about their drug addiction or other severe illnesses.

In 2011, Chechnya implemented compulsory prenuptial HIV testing, following similar requirements found in Central Asian countries like Tajikistan. Countries such as China, Nigeria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia also have comparable mandates in place for prospective couples. Human Rights Watch said that “international research suggests that mandatory testing undermines human rights and is potentially detrimental to public health."

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