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Friday 15 December 2006
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BURUNDI: Catholic Church demands proof of HIV testing before marriage


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


JOHANNESBURG, 27 March (PLUSNEWS) - Roman Catholic Church leaders in Burundi have told priests not to conduct wedding ceremonies unless the bride and groom have taken an HIV test.

According to the BBC, those found to be positive could still be married, but the Church said it wanted the partners to know each other's status.

New guidelines in a booklet issued by Church authorities also forbid church weddings for pregnant women. About 70 percent of Burundians are Roman Catholic.

"There was a meeting of Bishops, who decided that young couples who wish to be married have to present an HIV test certificate ... We do not demand that the fiancés show us the test results, but we demand the proof that they have taken the test and told the truth," the head of programmes for the Catholic Church in Burundi, Father Gerase Mugerowimana, was reported as saying.

Burundi's association of people living with HIV has come out against the move, saying the Church should not become "a policeman ... giving orders".

[ENDS]

:: MORE NEWS BRIEFS ::




 
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