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Marriage-tested OK

A software engineer called up Dr Bhargavi BM, head of corporate health services, Hosmat Hospital, on January 5 to know if she conducted “marriage tests”.

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Bangalore techies taking HIV tests before tying the knot

BANGLORE: A software engineer called up Dr Bhargavi BM, head of corporate health services, Hosmat Hospital, on January 5 to know if she conducted “marriage tests”. The engineer, it seems, had to produce a certificate to his would-be in-laws, proving he is HIV-negative and fit to wed their daughter.

Another software engineer wanted himself HIV-tested because he had been to a prostitute. “I am afraid I may have contracted the deadly virus from her. I am getting married soon and want to check if I am positive or negative,” the engineer told the doctor.

While compulsory pre-marriage HIV tests are still in the proposal mode in Karnataka, Bangalore techies are increasingly getting them themselves tested.

“Marriage tests” – technically, VDRL, blood test for syphilis and a HIV tests – have become a part of the pre-marriage process. Bangalore’s HIV-testing centres and corporate health wings of hospitals are increasingly receiving requests for such to tests. 

“Since January, I have been receiving at least two calls every week for ‘marriage tests’. All callers are from the IT industry,” says Dr Bhargavi.

At least two techies visit Gokula Metropolis Health Service Centre in the city every month for the test. “This trend has caught on in the past two years. The clients are well-educated and aware people from the software industry,” says Dr Indumati, chief of the testing centre.

Other testing centres and hospitals in Bangalore are also witnessing similar rush.

The demand for a medical certificate from would-be partners and in-laws and the fear of getting infections from professional sex workers are the main why techies are increasingly taking the test. “A high-flying job and a good bank balance are not the only things marriage aspirants and parents look for nowadays. With changing lifestyle and the risks it entails, people also want to be sure of their partners’ health before tying the knot. And the way forward is a ‘marriage test’,” says Dr Bhargavi.

The techies are open and all for the test. “With lifestyle changing, you cannot expect your partner to be a virgin. But you can expect to lead a healthy life and this test helps you be sure,” says Saurabh Kumar, a software engineer. 

“There is nothing to feel ashamed about the test. I will take the test and insist my partner do the same,” says Naveen H, a software consultant.

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