Defence personnel hold HIV/AIDS workshop

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New Delhi, Dec 19 (ANI): To spread awareness about HIV/AIDS and its impact among defence personnel, a three-day workshop on HIV/AIDS Peer Educator with stress on 'Train the Trainer' commenced here.

The workshop is being conducted under the aegis of the Director-Generalrmed Forces Medical Services (DGAFMS), Ministry of Defence, in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence and the United States Army Pacific Command (USPACOM).

Among the participants in the workshop are senior commanders, counsellors, doctors from the three wings of the defence services (army, navy and air force), nursing officers and allied professionals including retired fraternity from the medical corps.

"In 2000, number of cases was high. During this period, there were 500 cases. After that, in 2002 and 2003, we started to change our programmes. Now we are having 300 to 350 cases. Every year, the number keeps on falling," said Major General Mandeep Singh, Additional Director General, DGAFMS.

He also noted that pre-test policy before the recruitment was not allowed by the Government. He maintained it was a right decision because the recruitment process should not be discriminatory.

A veteran army officer shared his views on HIV/AIDS from the retrospectives well as perspective aspects.

"The purpose of this workshop is vital for all the commands in the forces. They should be well aware and should have knowledge that HIV/AIDS is something that can happen to anyone and is happening. We should not shy away from AIDS and should find a solution so that that the forces will not get infected," said Lieutenant General (Retired) Shanker Prasad.

This workshop will deliberate on various issues vis-à-vis AIDS, from physical and social interaction to ethics in Peer Leaders training and development of related skills.

India has the world's third biggest caseload of people living with the deadly virus. After originally estimating some 5.7 million were infected in India, the U.N. reduced that estimate to 2.5 million. (ANI)

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