Action & Reaction

Recently news broke on the plan for automatic HIV testing for pregnant mums, unless they opt out of it. This is over and above other medical tests that pregnant mums, for the benefit of their unborn children, will need to go for. I suppose that is fine, I mean, I would want the best for my kid. So if something is found to be not quite right, the child can be given the best help that I can afford.

We must also be aware that not all HIV cases are due to irresponsible sexual behaviours or drug-related actions, although these are the more common reasons. There are cases of careless or insufficient checks done prior to blood transfusion. Regardless of whether the reason is more common or not, all situations are equally important.

Now, there is talk about extending the HIV tests to pre-marital couples. A simple survey was done by the TV station and it seems most of the interviewees were fine with the idea. For the minority who disgreed, personal rights and privacy were given as reasons.

Here in this fine (puns intended) island where I am born and bred, individual rights are important but when circumstances dictate, we have been taught to put the good of the family first.

“Mum, dad, can we eat Macs for dinner?” asked the daughter.

“No lah, rice,” answered mum.

“Your grandma, grandpa, brothers, sisters and I want to eat rice, so you can’t eat Macs today,” dad reinterated.

And if group rights (e.g. family’s) are important, when major things happen, the good of the country should come before that.

“Ok, now that you have graduated, you must find a job, get married and stay married, have kids as soon as possible because the country needs you to be gainfully employed and boost the national marriage and childbirth statistics… Ours have been falling over the last few years, we have fewer jobs, people are delaying marriage and too few children are born. In the next few generations, we will not have that big a local workforce, because there are just too few children now.”

I suppose that’s the way things are like back home, and there are two sides of the coin, positives and negatives, good and bad. And I will not be surprised if the HIV testing is extended to pre-marital couples. It will just be another thing that we have to do because someone says so, for the good of everyone.

Still I hope that people can be truthful in the relationships and deserve one another’s trust. That dating couples understand the need for a strong foundation in their relationships, by keeping themselves pure and uphold one another in a respectful and loving manner. That they do not need tests to inform them of mistakes and errorneous ways, but to come clean, seek forgiveness and resolve to treasure second chances when given.

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