255 armed forces personnel suffering from AIDS: Antony

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New Delhi, Apr 28 (UNI) As many as 255 armed forces personnel, majority of them from the Army, have been found to be suffering from AIDS as per the data compiled for 2004, 2005 and 2006, Defence Minister A K Antony said today.

In a written reply to Lok Sabha member Rajnarayan Budholiya, Mr Antony said 144 armed forces personnel were detected with the killer disease in 2004 while the figure stood at 76 and 35 for 2005 and 2006 respectively.

Of the 144 armed forces personnel in 2004, 132 belonged to the Army, eight to the Navy and four to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Similarly, out of the 76 personnel in 2005, 67 were from the Army, six from the Navy and three from the IAF.

And of 35 personnel in 2006, 30 belonged to the Army, two to the Navy and three to the IAF, Mr Antony added.

Out of the total 255 personnel found to be suffering from AIDS, 229 were from the Army, 16 from the Navy and 10 from the IAF, he said.

The Defence Minister said the armed forces have established ten immune deficiency centres in selected military hospitals.

These centre provide investigation, treatment and follow up of all HIV positive persons in the armed forces under the supervision of a physician, dermatologist, pathologist and a public health specialist, he added.

Mr Antony said the centres have been equipped with the state-of-the-art medical equipment and facilities for detection and treatment of HIV/AIDS cases.

In these centres, free anti-retroviral therapy was provided to the patient till such time the individual service tenure after which these medicines were supplied through Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme, he added.

The Defence Minister said regular follow up of patients, their close relatives along with education about the illness was also carried out.

UNI AG LPB DS1402

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