Of late there have been many HIV/Aids couples in Kenya coming out in the open to wed in full view of the media. This is a brave and encouraging move.
This is a positive way to fight the stigma; it has also got to do with Church strict rules that couples have to declare their health status before the Pastors officiate marriages
However some couples avoid going for counseling because of this issue, they go ahead with their wedding preparations as usual only to be stopped by a strict Pastor for not having completed their counseling.
There are many cases of weddings that have been stopped by Pastors when couples did not follow this new Church requirement. The Pastor is obligated to stop the wedding even on the wedding day when everything is set and guests are already in Church.
This would be a big loss to the couples after going through the nitty-gritty of organizing a wedding, which involves, the bridal gown, the man’s suit, invitation cards, hiring or fueling of vehicles, catering services, brides maids, flower girls, page boys clothes, taking care of parents and relatives if they depend on the couple. Video coverage and photography etc.
Nearly in all Churches couples have to go through counseling by a Pastor, 3 announcements have to be done according to the law. It is during the counseling that the pastor will insist that the couple go for test to know their HIV/AIDS status.
The couple may later decide to go ahead with the wedding after completing the counseling and accepting their status.
I support the fact that all things should be sorted out prior to marriages. This is a positive move to save all those innocent young ladies or young men who would enter into a relationship blindly assuming their partner is well.
Though there are some Pastors who are compromised and perform weddings before counseling or advising couples. It is because the purge of corruption is also in our Churches. Churches gain from such functions from the charges and collections, so a greedy Pastor would rather ignore such obstacles. In extreme circumstances, they are practically bribed by the beneficiaries of such weddings.
We all need to appreciate the advantages to pre-marital counseling and status testing. It brings enhanced meaning in marriage because the marrying parties would have full knowledge of each other’s status.