The Adamawa House of Assembly on Wednesday passed a law for compulsory HIV and genotype (sickle cell anaemia) test for couples before marriage.
The state joins a growing number of Nigerian states which have such laws. Some of these states include: Anambra (compulsory sickle cell anemia test), Jigawa (HIV and sickle cell), Kaduna (HIV, sickle cell, hepatitis), Bauchi (HIV, sickle cell), among other states.
On the other side of the divide, in 2015, Ekiti outlawed compulsory HIV test before marriage which was being prescribed by some churches.
At the national assembly, a bill titled “The Compulsory Haemoglobin-Genotype Screening Test Bill” is currently being pushed by Senators Ahmed Salau Ogembe and Ovie Omo-Agege. It has already passed second reading.
The new Adamawa law will be sent to Gov. Jibrilla Bindow for accent.
Parts of the bill stipulated that any couple intending to marry would be subjected to a compulsory HIV/AIDS and genotype test that should be conducted in public hospitals or registered diagnostic centres one week before the marriage.
The bill also required that the certificate of the two tests should be presented to any religious institution or the clergymen of church or mosque where the wedding would be contracted.
“Any person or persons who have complied with this law in fulfillment of the requirement of the previous marriage shall not on this basis evade undergoing the test when contracting any subsequent marriage,” the proposed law stated.
Part three of the bill also made case for non-discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS and sickle cell anaemia in the state.
“Individuals, communities, employers and employees have a mutual responsibility to prevent discrimination on basis of HIV (AIDS) or Sickle Cell Anaemia in the society.
“No cultural practice or tradition shall encourage documented practices that exposé people to risk of HIV infection,” the bill said.
It further provided for a penalty of N150,000 for individuals and N500,000 for organisations or imprisonment for a period not less than one year or both for any person or institution found guilty of non-compliance with the law.