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CRPF's latest enemy -- AIDS

December 12, 2004 16:23 IST

It may be tackling suicide terror attacks efficiently, but the Central Reserve Police Force is wary of suffering casualties of its personnel in strikes from an invisible enemy -- HIV/AIDS.

With 125 of its personnel already having been detected positive for HIV/AIDS, the top brass of the force has realised the vulnerability of the CRPF personnel to the deadly ailment.

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CRPF, which is going to be the largest para-military force and is tipped to be made in-charge of the country's internal security, has identified HIV/AIDS as an enemy which could catch it off the guard and take a toll on the force.

A drive has been started to make the CRPF personnel deployed across the country aware of the dangers and the steps required to guard against contracting the disease.

The force has prepared a booklet title 'Jagruti' (awareness) which is to be distributed among all the personnel, CRPF officials said in New Delhi on Sunday.

"There is a problem which cannot be ignored. In fact, the better way to tackle it is to face it," a top CRPF official said.

The official said 125 personnel of the force were detected as HIV/AIDS patients during routine blood tests and they have been taken off active duty.

"There may be many more. Many more could be vulnerable as the personnel live away from their families for most of the time," the official said.

The areas, identified as vulnerable for the personnel to contract the disease include those in North East, Jammu and Kashmir and naxalism-affected areas.

"In these areas, our force is deployed on a long-term basis which enhances the vulnerability," the official said.

"Shiksha, sanyam and samajdhari; door rahe AIDS beemari (education, restraint and common sense will keep AIDS away)," prescribes the booklet in Hindi, copies of which are to be despatched to all CRPF sector headquarters.

Warning that "HIV/AIDS is such a deadly epidemic which has no cure", it asks the personnel to go for voluntary blood testing to be sure that they have not contracted it.

"The intention of bringing out the booklet is to make aware our personnel who are deployed in areas where the possibility of contracting the disease is higher. In this way, the force's personnel can be saved from contracting the ailment," said CRPF spokesman D G Mohapatra, who has edited the booklet.

"Because of some reasons, our personnel have contracted this disease. This booklet prescribes suggestions so that this disease does not spread further," writes Mohapatra in the editorial in the booklet.

The booklet, which has contributions from officials of the National AIDS Control Organisation, Delhi AIDS Control Samiti and some CRPF doctors, illustrates how AIDS is spread and ways to avoid it.

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