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April 11, 1990

Mandatory Premarital HIV Testing: The Illinois Experience

JAMA. 1990;263(14):1918. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440140037027

To the Editor.—  I strongly disagree with the conclusions of Dr Turnock and Mr Kelly1 and Dr Joseph2 regarding the results of the study on mandatory premarital testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Illinois. A 22% reduction in marriage licenses issued (which I presume is statistically significant compared with the numbers in previous years) is astounding, no matter how you look at it, and cannot simply be disregarded. If indeed the 22% reduction in marriage licenses in Illinois is actually due to the mandatory premarital testing for HIV, then it seems to me that the goal of public policy has in fact been achieved—that is, to alter public awareness and action. The fact that there was a corresponding increase in the rates in neighboring states makes the implications for national public health policy that much more significant and obvious. Whether national legislation mandating premarital HIV testing would