Premarital HIV screening is now common among most if not all prospective couples. It’s a simple medical laboratory test that lets the prospective couple know about their HIV status before engaging in any form of marital affair to get rid of contracting HIV/AIDS. It’s something good and it’s one of the most effective techniques/way to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS among the human population.
Some years back, some states in Nigeria with Jigawa as an example, made legislation in that regard which mad it compulsory for every prospective couple to know their HIV status before marriage. This is something paramount because HIV/AIDS is a communicable disease with about 70% of its transmission through sexual contact.
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People should note that, HIV is not the only infection that can be transmitted through sexual and other forms of personal contact; there are some other infections that share the same mode of transmission with HIV, like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Syphilis. These are equally harmful as HIV if not more than HIV (especially Hepatitis B which is now very common among people in the developing countries including Nigeria).
Moreover, there are some other diseases that are genetic in nature (acquired through inheritance from one or both of the parents), like sickle cell anemia, which is an abnormality of the red blood cells that reduces the life span as well as the oxygen carrying capacity of the cell causing anemia. Hemolytic disease of newborn (erythroblastosis fetalis) is another example; it is a deadly disease caused by incompatibility of Rhesus factor (an inherited protein found on the surface of red blood cells), causing hyperbiliribinemia, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly and heart failure which account for many intrauterine fetus death as well as postnatal infant death.
The general public is enjoined to consider premarital medical examination not premarital HIV screening. In premarital HIV screening, we only focus on HIV while premarital medical examination is a panel of tests that include all the sexually transmitted diseases and the genetically inherited diseases that ascertain the health status of each and every prospective couple.
Nazifi Malami Kachako writes from the Department of Medical Laboratory Technology, Mewar University, Chittorghar, India