What medical tests should be done before marriage?
In order to curb HIV cases, Malaysia’s Department of Islamic Religious Affaris has made premarital HIV testing a compulsory screening for the Muslim community. Following this effort, the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) has been mulling over to make it compulsory even among non-Muslim Malaysian couple. However for now, they only encouraged all couples that plan to get married to do a premarital screening. Other than their HIV status, there also a multitude of tests that soon to be married couple in Malaysia have to get through.
What is the importance of premarital screening?
Before going through lists of medical screening needed to be done for future newlyweds, there are some importance of going through these hoops.
One of the main points of mandatory screening is to prevent vertical transmission of disease from future parents to children. These diseases range from infectious, blood borne to genetic. The main genetic study among Malaysians is Thalassaemia screening. This is because diseases such as Thalassaemia or AIDS can cause significant burden to the child, family and even government spending on healthcare.
Besides that, the screening program is also thought to benefit couples who plan on starting a family to get a headstart in their journey. This is because couples fertility status is also part of the criteria. This usually happens during reproductive organs health checks. Hence, these tests helps to direct them on the right path of a healthy child conception.
The mandatory screening also indirectly helps couples to plan for their future. Especially in managing whether to have children. This is a very important topic that should be discussed earlier on and premarital screening gives them an opportunity to stop and think. Premarital checkup also facilitates couples with known medical conditions in terms of preparing for their future. Whether the disease is transmissible, heritable or manageable in the long-run.
When should you do the premarital screening?
As written in the guideline, it is best to do these tests 6 months before your wedding. This is because HIV tests are only valid for 6 months. This period also helps women who plans on becoming mothers. They can get the compulsory vaccines and supplement to ensure optimum conditions for pregnancy.
On the contrary, during this pandemic, it is advisable for Muslim couple to get your health checkup done after booking for your wedding date. COVID-19 forces a new normal in the wedding sector. All weddings can only be done in the District Islamic Religious Office. The challenge of getting an appointment there can be upwards to three months.
What are the tests done?
The first thing that will be expected from couples is their medical history. It encompasses their general wellbeing, family history, social history, past or current medical conditions. After the interview, they will move on to a general full body physical examination. Most of the time starts off with taking a blood pressure reading, followed by weight, height, heart, lungs and abdominal examinations.
The compulsory component that needed to be filled and sent is regarding couples HIV status. It is one the most universal blood tests that is done in all healthcare centres for premarital screening. There are also other tests that are done by getting blood samples. Such tests include for screening of infectious disease, hereditary disorders and also your general health status.
As mentioned before, some centres may even have packages included to check for the health status of your reproductive organs. It entails an ultrasound examination of your reproductive organs, swabs, semen or urine samples. For males are ultrasound of the scrotum, sperm sample and urine sample. For females are ultrasound of the breast, pelvis, pap smear test and even hormone levels.
Premarital screening should be seen as just a normal health checkup. It helps individuals to know their health status before starting a new chapter in their life. The practice also encourages couples to talk about their expectations of the marriage outside of premarital counselling setting. Many government and private hospitals provide a myriad of screening packages for couples, you just have to choose the one that suits you the best.
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