Manama: Saudi Arabia could soon implement a plan requiring all government hospitals in the kingdom to test pregnant women for HIV infection.

“Under the move by the health ministry, the HIV blood tests will be carried out during the early months of the pregnancy,” Mohsin Al Hazemi, the head of the Shura Council Health Committee, said. “Some of the hospitals have already started carrying out the tests,” he told local Arabic daily Al Eqtisadiya.

The decision is part of a national drive to fight the spread of the disease.

On Sunday, the Consultative Council made history by approving the draft of the AIDS prevention law that prevents all forms of discrimination against those affected with the disease. The law also protects the society and calls for prompt action to help curb the spread of infections.

The draft was prepared based on reports by experts and on remarks from the health ministry and the human rights national association.

The vote was overwhelmingly in favour of the draft law that will be submitted for approval within one week, officials said.