Malaysia will urge non-Muslim couples to take voluntary pre-nuptial HIV screening tests before tying the knot due to high levels of infection among married women, the deputy premier said.
Such screening is already compulsory for Muslims as part of a pre-marital course but there is no such requirement for non-Muslims.
While new HIV infections dropped to 3,452 in 2008, compared to 6,756 in 2003, infections among women through normal sexual intercourse rose from 5.02 percent of total cases in 1997 to 16.3 percent last year.
"I think for the non-Muslims, we should go on the basis of encouraging them on voluntary basis to subject themselves to be tested and screened for HIV," deputy premier Najib Razak told Bernama news agency late Saturday.
"If you look at it from the society's point of view as well as the point of view from the individuals concerned... it would be to their interest as well to know whether their would-be-husbands... are free from HIV or not."