Just read this and was so glad V and I got tested. It was my idea but he was completely cool with it. Just like the tattoos. And the mad drives. And the baby-rearing. Like most things, really. I come up with the idea and he is happy to participate.
I think that's pretty much the perfect attitude to take in something like testing for HIV before marriage. In our case, I wanted it because it suddenly struck me that I'd had unsafe sex and didn't think it was fair on him. Of course, once we'd given our samples I was convinced that I had HIV and I worried myself silly until the results were handed over a few days later. Much later I discovered one needs to test at least thrice to be certain. But given that two tests set us back by a thousand I'm not sure we'd have gone in for such extravagance. Of course, when pregnant I had to re-do the test once more.
I don't know what the big deal is. We've all done something stupid or even careless in our lives. Why is testing for something life-threatening that may have resulted from a moment's carelessness so stigmatised? Like I commented at the post, I believe the test is something you undergo to show your concern for your partner; if you were concerned for yourself chances are you'd already have done it.
This is equally important in arranged and love marriages. In arranged marriages because you have no idea of the other person's past, obviously, and have to depend on what they say. In love marriages because, let's face it, few of us are our partners' only bed-fellows. V may never have slept with anybody else other than me but I did, so I think the test was important for us both. (Since we'd been having sex way before it struck me to take the test.)
I really don't get the big deal. I can understand your trepidation if you fear that the request for an HIV test will ruin your marital prospects -- but do you want to marry into a home that is so narrow-minded, unscientific and orthodox? I'm often told that I ought not criticise those (usually girls) who give in to all kinds of demands during the setting up of an arranged marriage because I had a love marriage myself. And I always say one thing: my marriage was something I arranged for myself. I have known what it is to love mindlessly, unheedingly, not caring of the consequences. It was never like that between V and I. Is that why this relationship lasted? I don't know. But I do know that I ensured that he would please my parents, be able to provide me with the kind of emotional support I need, that he would understand my tumultuous relationship with my brother, indeed, my family, that he would want and love children as I did -- I only agreed to the marriage because he suited these requirements. I was cold-blooded about it all because having been through very different relationships I had learnt that romance can always come later, but if the basics aren't in place, no amount of romance will hold you together. It sounds like very simple common sense now but it took me a long time to acknowledge this.
And thus when we decided to marry, I went about most things (ok, not all but most) with my mind, not my heart. The test was a part of this. I did it because I think it's something we all need to do.