Apart from losing the lives of their men in counter-insurgency operations,the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) have been losing their personnel to HIV/AIDS too. A Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) data says in the last seven years,391 personnel have died due to the disease.
Officials said personnel posted away from family for long periods are most prone to the disease. That includes men posted in foreign peacekeeping missions. While over 1,300 personnel in the forces are living with the disease,more than 1,600 new cases were detected.
Among all the forces,BSF leads the number of deaths due to HIV/AIDS with 43 cases reported last year. CRPF reported 15 deaths followed by seven deaths in Assam Rifles.
The impact of the disease in the CAPF was discussed at a symposium organised by the medical cell of the MHA last month. In 2007,we detected 534 cases but last year only 78 cases were found. We conduct programmes to create awareness among the personnel, said a senior official. The MHA allots separate funds to all the forces for this purpose and to conduct medical tests to detect AIDS.
An official of the AIDS awareness project will soon be part of the basic training courses for personnel. According to the MHA data,the national incidents of AIDS was reported to be 0.27 per cent while that in CAPF stood at 0.18 per cent.
Things are improving and so far we have screened more than 6.4 lakh personnel. The number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the forces is 1,361. It is not an alarming figure but we have to take immediate steps to bring the number further down, said the official.
There were 1,633 new cases reported in the past seven years,among these 78 were in 2012. We are taking all possible care so that new cases are not reported, said the official.