New Delhi, Mar 1 (UNI) Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee today denied that a large number of army personnel have been found infected with AIDS but said those suffering from the syndrome are initially provided anti-retroviral therapy and retained in service after they show improvement in overall clinical profile.
He added that the affliction is significantly lower in the armed forces than among the general poplulation.
In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Mr Mukherjee said that HIV infected personnel are retained in services and those suffering from the full blown AIDS are initially provided anti-retroviral therapy as per the World Health Organisation criteria.
They are assessed periodically by blood tests and retained in service provided they show improvement in the overall clinical profile.
''Otherwise, these persons are invalided out of service and they are given anti-retroviral therapy for life, as exservicemen. at least 104 personnel were invalided out of services during 2004,'' the Minister said.
He said no protest or representation has been received from the National AIDS Control Organisation against removal of such personnel from service.