Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Marry Me. I Swear I Don't Have Aids

God knows I'm not a libertarian and believe the government should devote as many resources as possible to solve a whole host of social issues. But I'm beginning to understand the small-government critique. Just take a look at this story in the Express about a new piece of legislation being proposed by members of the ruling party.

For those that can't read Urdu, let me summarize. The government is proposing a law that would force couples to be tested for Aids, thalassemia and hepatitis before they can get married. Although there is no mention in the story, I'm guessing those who test positive will be branded with a scarlet letter.

I got married just a few months ago. While I love married life, weddings are a nightmare. If you add three injections to the mix, I might have had second thoughts about this whole getting hitched thing (as you might have guessed, my wife doesn't read this blog).

Can someone also please explain why thalassemia is included in the list? As far as I know, it isn't contagious.


naqiya said...

thalassemia: its when you get two recessive genes, one from each parent. if both parents are carriers, the kids have a pretty high risk of having the actual disease. testing = because carriers dont show signs of the disease at all.

does that help? jewish people get that kind of genetic profiling done with tay-sachs etc. before getting married so its not unheard off

M. said...

this is good

Xeb said...

The issue here is that our government has no conception of the public/private domains and even if they did they wouldn't really care.

It's important for some sort of testing to be done (to avoid spread of disease etc) BUT it's not comfortable for anyone to - if they do have this disease - be registered in a government database, to be discriminated against for as long as Pakistan continues to be illiterate and narrow-minded (which will probably be a long long time).

Testing should be encouraged and it is the government's responsibility to make sure that everyone has an option. But that is where it ends. And they'll never be able to understand that.

AKS said...

If they're really that worried about recessive genes there's surely something to be said about first cousins being allowed to marry.

naqiya said...

@ aks:

dude! if they did, half of pakistan's marriages would be rendered illegal! and what of the age old tradition of "watta satta" (i'll give you my daughter if i can have your son) system??

AKS said...

Watta satta is a trade-off, i.e. you take our daughter we take yours. And while in some circumstances watta satta may involve cousins, it always doesn't have to.

Anonymous said...

no big deal here really. shia communities (who practice cousin-marriages more than most) here in the UK and in the States get genetic screening done quite often prior to a couple getting engaged.

its quite hush hush, but there is a tacit approval from both sides that if the tests show any sort of incompatibility, the engagement (not the marriage) will not go ahead.

saves face as most people in the community don't even know about the potential of those two getting together until an engagement is announced.

lala said...

i wanna marry a gorri..i shud definately have her tested..right guyz..

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