Should you demand STD tests before marriage?

Sunday, July 31, 2016

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GETTING married is an exciting time for most people. You’ve found the love of your life and you’re about to commit to a lifetime with the individual.


But in the midst of all the planning and preparation for the big day, many couples will go through counselling without knowing the health status of their partners, and may become disappointed and frustrated with marriage because of medical conditions that could have been identified and tackled before this lifelong commitment.


Relationship counsellor Wayne Powell said sexual health screening should be an integral part of premarital counselling discussions, particularly if any or both partners have been sexually active.


"The knowledge of your intending partner’s health status by no means implies that marriage is not possible, but it gives you an avenue to make an informed decision and it gives you and your spouse the free will to seek medical care before entering the marriage," he explained.


Powell added: "Marriage is a lifelong commitment and people need to decide if they can love each other if one partner presents with, for example, AIDS or herpes. Such surprises can affect the trust level which is integral to the success of any relationship. But knowing this can make it much easier on a couple who will then decide whether or not they will move forward."


Moreover, Powell said with the current prevalence of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, couples should make it their point of duty to request that their partners do these tests.


"HIV, hepatitis B and C are lifelong conditions that if not properly managed can put serious strain on the marriage," he said. "If you decide to get married regardless of the result that these tests present, you will have the advantage of properly protecting yourself."


Powell added that many people like to think that only HIV/AIDS can adversely affect a relationship, but couples should also be screened for gonorrhoea, syphilis, bacterial vaginosis and warts, which if left untreated can cause blockage of the tubes and ultimately lead to infertility and miscarriages.


—KH






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