The Council for Social Justice and Peace of then Archidiocese of Goa and Daman has advocated voluntary and not mandatory HIV testing before marriage.
Reacting to reports in sections of the media about a state government move to bring in legislation to make HIV tests mandatory before marriage to arrest the spread of AIDS, the church authorities said such testing should be "voluntary and not mandatory".
"Respecting the conscience and the freedom that every person has, the Church in Goa advocates the principle of informed consent and voluntary testing with counselling support, while it rejects any form of unethical testing practices that offend the dignity of the concerned individuals," said a statement issued by the Council here today.
In view of the proposed legislation, the Church in Goa consulted several individuals working with different organisations as well as experts in medicine, morals, law and sociology to analyse its implications, the statement said.
"The Church is deeply concerned about the increasing rate of HIV infection in the country and is intensely mobilising resources to curb its further spread," it said.
The Church authorities felt any proposed law in this regard should stress the need for intensive preparation courses before marriage and adequate professional counselling that will lead to voluntary HIV testing by the couple preparing for marriage, the release said.