Arunachal police to help fight AIDS along with other crimes

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Itanagar, Jul 2 (UNI) UNAIDS has chosen the police force in Arunachal Pradesh as the first uniformed personnel to become a medium for propagation of the country's new strategy to fight AIDS with more focus on behavorial change than only raising awareness.

According to UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) country coordinator Ranjan Dwivedi, the union Ministry of Home Affairs is going to organize four regional conferences followed by a national conference by August end to cover the country's 2.6 million cops besides other security forces including the Army, which are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS because of their nature of job.

Addressing the first day-long advocacy programme for the police personnel of the state here yesterday, Dwivedi, a senior IPS officer said HIV/AIDS programmes focused through awareness campaigns only were not effective to get the desired result. UNAIDS suggested to shift the focus incorporating behavioral change, especially among the uniformed personnel and suggested methodologies including maintaining personal health records (PHR) which will improve individual health status by about 70 per cent at no cost, he stated.

The PHR model developed by the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) Pune, would not only help in containing HIV/AIDS but also other diseases like TB and malaria for a holistic approach, he said adding the UNAIDS also suggested include sex health related questions during recruitment tests for the forces to increase the awareness level of the aspirants.

He said police personnel are more vulnerable to this incurable disease because they deal with high risk groups like sex workers, bleeding accident victims and drug addicts. The NGOs working among these high risk groups also need police help to bring about a behavioral change among these groups besides protecting themselves, he reasoned. The entire police force of the country can be covered by the end of this year through this new approach focusing on behavorial change rather than organizing cost prohibitive workshops, which would take at least 30 years, he added.

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