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from daijiworld's special correspondent

Panaji, Jul 15: Mandatory HIV testing before marriage would be a reality in Goa, if new state health minister Vishwajit Rane has his way.

Rane, son of Goa legislative assembly speaker Pratapsingh Rane and Valpoi constituency legislator, has favourably reacted to the issue of "HIV test before marriage in this tourist state".

The issue, which cropped up last year, was kept on the backburner by the state government following opposition from certain sections of the society including the Church.

Then health minister Dayanand Narvekar, who was publicly favouring a legislation making HIV testing mandatory, had to backtrack later on.

"I don't think there is anything wrong in it..... I personally favour it... There has to be a legislation to implement it," Rane said talking about the mandatory test.

The young health minister said that chief minister along with the leader of opposition should sit and discuss this `vital topic'.

Goa, the tourist state which attracts 23 lac tourists every year, has around 6,000-odd detected HIV positive cases. The non government organizations which are working in this field had taken up the issue of compulsory HIV testing before marriage which was strongly opposed by a few.

After the opposition, the NGOs and even government-funded organizations like Goa state AIDS control society has toned down their stand.


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