(OKLAHOMA CITY) - Oklahoma health officials say they want to do away with mandatory blood tests for marriage license applicants.
The tests are intended to detect syphilis, but Bill Pearson of the state Health Department said it's been several years since the tests found a new case of the disease.
``The premarital test is gone the way of the dinosaur,'' Pearson said.
He said the Health Department will probably ask the Legislature to eliminate the tests during its next session.
Tulsa Representative Darrell Gilbert had sought to make AIDS testing a requirement for marriage licenses. Gilbert said the bill died in committee because officials said soon-to-be married couples aren't usually in the high-risk groups for sexually transmitted diseases.
He said lawmakers were also reluctant to do anything that would raise the cost of marriage licenses.
Oklahoma City ranked sixth in the country last year for number of syphilis cases per 100,000 residents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, say the city's syphilis rate fell more than 28 percent between 1999 and 2000.