The National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS has debunked reports that the new National HIV/AIDS Prevention Plan compels intending couples to carry out HIV test, as a precondition for marriage.
The agency in a statement on Monday said the statement credited to the Director, Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Malaria, Mr. Yakubu Usman- Abubakar, was false.
It stated, “We wish to clarify that no part of the newly developed National HIV/AIDS Prevention Plan stipulates or recommends compulsory HIV testing for intending couples or any group or individuals.
“The national HIV-prevention plan is essentially a strategic document designed to provide direction for HIV prevention programming in the country. It focuses on ensuring that the prevention priorities and goals set by the country and the President’s comprehensive response plan are achieved.
“One of those critical goals is to avail 80 million men and women knowledge of their HIV status, and there are set standards and approaches for achieving this. Compulsory testing before marriage is not one of them.”
The agency reiterated that compulsory HIV/AIDs testing was against the policies passed in the new Anti-Stigma law by the National Assembly.
It stated that HIV testing is voluntary and not compulsory and nobody should be compelled to get tested for HIV. It added that voluntary testing is the gateway to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.