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High 'I do' blood-test dues.

High 'I do' blood-test dues

Illinois public health researchers this week described their first year's costly experience with a state law requiring all marriage license applicants to prove they've been tested for antibodies to the AIDS-causing virus, HIV. The controversial law, which went into effect Jan. 1, 1988, requires that laboratories report to the state department of health the age, race and sex (but not names) of all HIV-positives, along with any history of high-risk sexual behavior reporte by those applicants. The law demands that both parties to a proposed marriage inform each other of their test results.

Of 155,458 applicants, 26 tested positive for HIV antibodies -- the same prevalence rate of 0.02 percent already observed for voluntary blood donors in Illinois, calculate Chet Kelly and Bernard J. Turnock of the state's department of health in Springfield. At an estimated cost of $35 per person, the expense of premarital testing comes out to $5.4 million annually. That's $217,641 per HIV-positive, or about 300 times the cost per seropositive identified through the state's AIDS counseling and testing program. The program of mandatory testing "has identified few seropositive individuals at enormous cost," Kelly and Turnock conclude in a paper presented in Montreal this week at the Fifth International Conference on AIDS.

The number of marriage licenses issued in Illinois decreased by 22 percent compared with the previous 12 months, the researchers add.
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Title Annotation:Illinois marriage license applicants required to take HIV antibody test
Publication:Science News
Date:Jun 10, 1989
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