Legal fraternity slam AIDS test policy

Malawi's legal fraternity has criticised the decision by a local church to implement a mandatory HIV testing policy for couples wanting to get married.

The Living Waters [Pentecostal] Church issued the statement on Thursday, saying it had already declared pregnancy tests compulsory before a couple could marry.

However, the Malawi Law Society said the church policy would contravene the country's constitution.

The Associated Press agency quoted a member of the law society, Charles Mhango, as saying: "This is discrimination of the highest order. No one should be discriminated against on the basis of health and, legally, getting married is a human right."

The church defended its decision by saying it already advised couples to take HIV tests before getting married to "protect their futures".