Prenuptial medical exam in Azerbaijan: 135 diagnosed with HIV
135 infected with HIV, 297 with syphilis, and 3,393 with thalassemia–these were the yearly totals from the mandatory pre-wedding medical examinations in Azerbaijan.
Overall, during the 11 months of 2019, 126,402 people underwent this medical exam, says the Report Information Center.
Used to warn people of danger
The mandatory medical examination was introduced in 2015. Couples about to get married must be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, as well as for thalassemia, a serious hereditary blood disease. The exam is free.
Quite often in Azerbaijan, a man infects his wife with a serious sexually transmitted disease, which is then only detected during pregnancy. Moreover, the husband himself may not know that he has the disease.
At the same time, many Azerbaijanis carry thalassemia. If two carriers get married, then the risk is great that they will have a sick child.
Thus, the purpose of the premarital check is to inform people in time so that they at least are able to plan for the future.
Doctors report the results of the exam only to the person being examined, but not to his or her partner. However, according to the law, a person infected with HIV or AIDS is obliged to inform his sexual partner or future spouse about it, otherwise he will be held criminally responsible.
In fact, only a very small percentage of couples have called off their wedding after getting the results of the exam.
Statistics show that every year, the number of people diagnosed with HIV increases, but this year’s numbers were at a record high:
In 2016 – 109 out of 143694 examined were diagnosed;
In 2017 – 119 out of 135990;
In 2018 – 173 out of 135529.
Director of the Republican Thalassemia Center Valeh Huseynov says it’s difficult to say how much the introduction of a mandatory physical examination has affected the number of patients with this disease:
“You can only start talking about the results of these programs after they have been around for at least five years,” he explains.